The new Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nadia Murad Image Credit: Supplied

In awarding this year’s Nobel Peace Prize to Nadia Murad and Denis Mukwege for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon in war, the Norwegian Nobel Committee based in Oslo has done a commendable job.

The prize comes at a time when women have been singled out for rape, imprisonment, torture and execution in conflict zones around the world.

Sexual violence as a weapon in war has been documented in many armed conflicts around the world, including those in Myanmar, Iraq and Congo.

Nadia is a living example of this brutality. Born in the Yazidi village of Kocho, high in the Sinjar Mountains of north Iraq, she was barely 21 when Daesh extremist group overran her little hamlet in August 2014.

Along with other girls in her tiny village, she was made a sex-slave and exploited by the militia.

Before being taken away, Nadia witnessed the slaughter of her Yazidi community. Daesh killed 600 people in Kocho, including six of Nadia’s brothers.

Held as a slave in the city of Mosul, she was abused by members of the Daesh for several weeks before Nadia could escape their clutches. She found shelter in the home of a Sunni Muslim family who risked their lives to smuggle her to safety.

Sheer determination

What is inspiring in this tragic disruption of her life is her sheer determination.

Nadia wanted to live and create awareness so that others could escape what she and her community had been through.

From the alleys of Duhok refugee camp in northern Iraq to the Government of Baden-Württemberg, Germany’s refugee programme that ultimately rehabilitated her, Nadia’s story is one of human grit and resilience.

Degradation through sexual enslavement to Daesh was likely to put Nadia down but she fought back. She chose to speak up and tell the story of her torment to the world.

Nadia became the joint winner of the EU’s prestigious Sakharov human rights prize in 2016.

As a witness who highlighted the abuses perpetrated against herself and others, Nadia has shown, in the words of the Nobel Committee, ‘an uncommon courage in recounting her own sufferings and speaking up on behalf of other victim.’

At 25 she has become the second youngest Nobel Peace Prize laureate after Malala Yousafzai, who was 17 when she won in 2014.

Last year around this time Nadia’s memoir ‘The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity’, and ‘My Fight Against the Islamic State’, was published by Crown Publishing Group.

It is a heartbreaking elegy that doubles as an urgent call to action. Today’s Nobel is a step in that direction.