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PACE honours human rights defenders “upholding the light of hope”

“This year, Human Rights Day calls on everyone to stand up for someone's rights. I would therefore like to, once again, pay a particular tribute to Nadia Murad, who, after having been kidnapped, kept in slavery and abused by ISIS in northern Iraq, became a human rights activist,” Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) President Pedro Agramunt stressed.

“Nadia Murad stands for thousands of brave women and men who day after day fight to defend our human rights by denouncing and documenting violations of the rights of those who are oppressed and vulnerable. These defenders often face violence and intimidation. Some countries have adopted laws which seriously restrict their activities. We strongly condemn attacks on the lives of these human rights defenders and attacks on their health and reputations. When those dedicated to upholding the rights of others become victims of violations themselves, this sends a terrible message to society and those depending on their protection,” the PACE President underlined.

“The commitment to the common good and the daily efforts of these human rights defenders deserve our respect and recognition,” he said.

The PACE Václav Havel Prize pays tribute to human rights defenders, highlighting their difficult work, honoring their achievements. Nadia Murad is one of them. When being awarded this Prize in October 2016, she expressed that it was “the search for a glimmer of hope in darkness” that linked her to Václav Havel. She hoped that this recognition would give her renewed strength to continue moving forward, to fight against extremism, and all its manifestations, to see to it that good prevails.