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Yazidi Activists Collect Top EU rights Award

  • RFE/RL

Nadia Murad Basee (left) and Lamiya Aji Bashar pose with the 2016 Sakharov Prize during an award ceremony at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on December 13.

The European Parliament has given its Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought to two Yazidi survivors of sexual enslavement and other brutality at the hands of the extremist group Islamic State (IS).

Yazidi activists Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar received the prestigious prize for contributions to human rights during a ceremony in Strasbourg on December 13.

They were chosen as winners of the award worth 50,000 euros ($53,000) in October.

Both laureates escaped IS captivity to become "public advocates for the Yazidi community in Iraq, a religious minority that has been the subject of a genocidal campaign by IS militants," the prize's organizers have said.

Murad Basee and Aji Bashar were captured by IS fighters group and forced into sex slavery when their village in northern Iraq was taken over by that ruthless Sunni-led group in August 2014.

Both have campaigned since their escape to promote women's and minority rights.

IS continues to control swaths of Iraq and Syria that it claims as a caliphate, where it imposes a brutal interpretation of Islamic law and routinely executes perceived enemies, sometimes en masse.

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