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Lamiya Aji Bashar receiving the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in Strasbourg, 13 December 2016        

Islamic State survivors and Iraqi Yazidi activists Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar received today Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. The two women were honoured by Parliament for standing up for the persecuted Yazidi minority and the victims of sexual violence by Islamic State. “More than 3,500 children and women are still held hostage as slaves under Daesh. Every day they die a thousand times,” Aji Bashar said in her acceptance speech.

After escaping the clutches of the Islamic State, Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji-Bashar have become symbols of the Yazidi struggle. A moving portrait of the two laureates of the 2016 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of thought.
       

Iraqi Yazidi Islamic State survivors and activists Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar receive Parliament’s 2016 Sakharov Prize during a ceremony in Strasbourg on Tuesday 13 December. After escaping sexual enslavement by Islamic State they both became spokespeople for women affected by the terrorist group's campaign of sexual violence and for the persecuted Yazidi minority. Find out more about their fight by watching our video and follow the ceremony live online.

Murad-Bashar ©AP Images/ European Union-EP & ©Enric Vives-Rubio/Público        

Yazidi survivors and public advocates Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar are this year's joint laureates of the European Parliament Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, following a decision by Parliament President Martin Schulz and the political group leaders on 27 October. The Sakharov award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg on 13 December.

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1/5 An older Yazidi woman in headscarf shows her missing daughter's Iraqi ID card  ©Alfred Yaghobzadeh        

Parliament has awarded this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar. Since escaping sexual enslavement by Islamic State, the two Iraqi Yazidis have become human rights campaigners. Yazidis have been subject to a genocidal campaign by Islamic State since 2014 with thousands killed or enslaved. Learn more about the plight of Iraq’s Yazidis through the lenses of Iranian photographer Alfred Yaghobzadeh.

1_finalists_Dundar_Dzhemilev_Murad-Bashar        

Can Dündar and fellow defenders of freedom of thought and expression in Turkey, the Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzhemilev, the Yazidi survivors and public advocates Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar are this year's finalists for the Sakharov Prize following a vote by the foreign affairs and development committees on 11 October. The laureate will be selected by the EP President and the political group leaders on 27 October and the award ceremony will be held in Strasbourg on 13 December.

Andrei Sakharov ©Ali Ferzat 2016        

Can Dündar and fellow defenders of freedom of thought and expression in Turkey, the Crimean Tatar leader Mustafa Dzemilev, the Yazidi survivors and public advocates Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar as well as Uyghur scholar Ilham Tohti are this year's nominees for the Sakharov Prize. MEPs formally presented them at a meeting of the foreign affairs and development committees and the human rights subcommittee on Thursday 6 October. The laureate will be announced on 27 October.

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About Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar