A young Iraqi woman, who survived trafficking at the hands of ISIS, has been appointed a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador for the dignity of survivors of human trafficking.
Nadia Murad Basee Taha, the 23-year-old Nobel Peace Prize nominee , is the Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime. The appointment marks the first time a survivor of atrocities is bestowed with this distinction.
“Nadia is a fierce and tireless advocate for the Yazidi people and victims of human trafficking everywhere,” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said yesterday at her induction ceremony, which was held in connection with the UN’s commemoration of the International Day of Peace.
“She was subjected to unspeakable abuse and human rights violations at the hands of ISIL. Nadia has shown exceptional courage in speaking out. She gives a much-needed voice to trafficking victims who continue to suffer, and who demand justice,” the UN chief added.
Murad had briefed the UN Security Council in its first-ever session on human trafficking in December last year.
She described being rounded up with fellow Yazidis in Iraq in 2014 and witnessing as ISIS fighters shot men and boys in cold blood. She was bought and sold various times.
ISIS or ISIL is an al-Qaeda splinter group and it has seized hundreds of square miles in Iraq and Syria.
“It is two years since ISIL seized Sinjar. It is unconscionable that thousands of Yazidi, in particular women and children, continue to be held captive,” Ban said, calling for their immediate release.
“And I repeat: the crimes committed by ISIL in Iraq against the Yazidi may constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and even genocide.”
A relentless advocate for victims, Murad was recently named one of Time Magazine’s ‘100 Most Influential People of 2016.’
During her Ambassadorship, she will focus on advocacy initiatives and raise awareness around the plight of the countless victims of trafficking in persons, especially refugees, women and girls.
UNODC is the lead UN entity fighting all forms of human trafficking, including sexual slavery, forced labour, child soldiering and trafficking for the purpose of organ removal.
It is also the custodian of the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children and mandated to manage the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons.
“Nadia’s appointment as a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime Goodwill Ambassador, provides a unique opportunity to urge others to join us in our fight against human trafficking. We know that Nadia’s extraordinary commitment to the plight of trafficking victims will move people to take action against this scourge,” UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov said in his message on her induction.