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For her commitment to justice for the victims of genocide, mass atrocities, sexual violence, and human trafficking, along with her calls for action to protect the innocent from ISIS, our 2016 Millennial of the Year is Nadia Murad.
A Yazidi, living in Iraq at the time, Nadia was kidnapped and enslaved by ISIS in 2014. Her mother and six brothers were killed. Nadia managed to escape. Since that time, she has become a champion of the Yazidi people and human rights. Nadia has been named Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking by the UN and started an organization to help “women and children victimized by genocide, mass atrocities, and human trafficking heal and re-build their lives and communities.”
This is her message:
Being a survivor of genocide comes with great responsibility –for I am the lucky one. Having lost my brothers, mother and many more family members and friends it is a responsibility I embrace fully and take very seriously. My role as an activist is not just about my suffering—it is about a collective suffering. Telling my story and reliving the horrors I encountered is no easy task, but the world must know. The world must feel a moral responsibility to act and if my story can influence world leaders to act then it must be told.
After the Holocaust, the world decried, “never again” but yet Genocide occurs with haunting frequency. What’s puzzling to me is that it occurs in full view of the world community. When ISIS trapped the Yazidi community on Sinjar Mountains, the world watched and world leaders chose not to act. In fact, we still find ourselves begging the United Nations to act – to stop ISIS – to hold ISIS accountable for all the horrific crimes committed. A fundamental goal for me is to fight impunity for crimes committed against all margined communities devastated by global terrorism.
I am committed to leading a campaign to prompt peace through de-radicalization. I will focus my power to deliver a message to the Muslim world to condemn extremism, particularly against children and women, carried out in the name of Islam. We must work together to counter terrorism and deter the youth from joining or supporting radical groups and united to teach all youth the importance of tolerance towards the beliefs of others.
Recent terrorism brought sufferings beyond our any understanding, and women and children have become the population mostly affected, notable, human trafficking and mass enslavement have become a tool used by terrorists to humiliate societies and humanity at large, I am committed to fight human trafficking and mass enslavement.
We cannot depend solely on the actions of the United Nations and world leaders. Individuals can contribute to the fight as well. If we all do our small part, in every corner of the world, I believe we can end genocide and mass atrocities against women and children. If we have the courage to stand up and fight for those we don’t know – who live thousands of miles away – we can make a difference. The world is one community and we need to act as such.
I ask you as a survivor and a friend, to join my Initiative and help all victims in the conflict zones, especially those targeted for their identify. ISIS must be stopped. Please contribute to this important cause, for we all humans that deserve to live peacefully.
In defending the Responsibility to Protect, universal human rights, religious freedom, and the rights and dignity of women and children, Nadia has championed principles that are critical to progressing toward the global common good. Her honesty and courage are a testament to her character. For these reasons, we are proud to announce that she is our 2016 Millennial of the Year.