Vatican City, Dec 20, 2018 / 09:58 am
Pope Francis met Thursday with the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad, a survivor of ISIS enslavement and an advocate for human rights and persecuted Iraqi minorities.
Murad, who first met Pope Francis at a weekly general audience last year, returned to the Vatican for a private audience with the pope after receiving the Nobel prize in October for her “efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict."
Militants of the Islamic State captured Murad four years ago after killing 6 of her brothers, her mother, and more than 600 Yazidis in her Iraqi village. She was enslaved, along with most of the young women in her community, and repeatedly raped by the ISIS fighters.
After being sold as a slave multiple times and suffering both sexual and physical abuse, Murad escaped ISIS at the age of 23 after 3 months of captivity. Now based in Germany, she has used her freedom to become an advocate for the thousands of Yazidi women who remain missing or in ISIS captivity.
The U.S. State Department declared in 2016 that Yazidis, along with the Christian and Shia Muslim religious minorities, were victims of a genocide perpetrated by the Islamic State.
During their meeting Dec. 20, Murad presented Pope Francis with an Italian copy of her memoir, "The Last Girl." Murad is the first Iraqi to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
Last week, Murad stressed in her Nobel Peace Prize Lecture that religious minorities are still at risk in Northern Iraq.
“After the genocide, we received international and local sympathy, and many countries recognized this genocide, but the genocide did not stop. The threat of annihilation still exists,” she said Dec. 10.