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article imageNobel laureate Murad urges Iraq to probe fate of abducted Yazidis

By AFP     Dec 12, 2018 in World

Nobel laureate and former jihadist captive Nadia Murad called on Iraq Wednesday to create a special team to investigate the fate of other members of her Yazidi minority kidnapped by the Islamic State group.

The 25-year-old, the first Iraqi to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, made the appeal during a visit to Baghdad.

"I'm very happy because three years ago I left Iraq physically and mentally exhausted. Today I've returned with a Nobel Peace Prize hoping it brings peace to Iraq," she said during a meeting with President Barham Saleh.

She called on Iraqi authorities to "build a specialised team to work with the international anti-jihadist coalition on the fate of Yazidis kidnapped by IS."

Murad was jointly awarded the Nobel prize in Oslo on Monday with Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege for her work to highlight the plight of Iraq's Yazidis.

Like thousands of other Yazidi women and girls, Murad was abducted by IS in 2014 as the jihadists overran the minority's stronghold of Sinjar in northern Iraq, close to the border with Syria.

They were held captive, tortured, raped and sold as sexual slaves by the jihadists.

More than 3,000 Yazidis are still missing, probably still held as captives, according to Murad.

IS captured large swathes of Iraq and neighbouring Syria in 2014, proclaiming a "caliphate" in land it controlled.

The jihadists have since lost most of their territory to offensives by multiple forces in both countries, retreating to desert holdouts.

Murad said she planned to speak to officials in Baghdad about the "unknown fate of Sinjar and the Yazidi population", noting that more than 80 percent of the minority still lived in camps and lacked basic necessities.

She said her "fight" today is to make sure the atrocities committed by IS against the Yazidis are recognised as a genocide.

"I'm wearing my Nobel Peace Prize in Baghdad to say to all Iraqis 'you are the most worthy of peace, so be peaceful to Iraq and to each other, and to the Yazidis and other Iraqi minorities who illustrate Iraq's rich cultural heritage'," she said.

For his part, Saleh stressed that "the rebuilding of Sinjar, delivering justice to the victims and examining the fate of the kidnapped are priorities".

"The time has come for the Iraqi parliament to pass a law considering the crime of Sinjar as a genocide against the Yazidis".

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