BRUSSELS — Two Yazidi women who survived sexual enslavement by the Islamic State before escaping and becoming advocates for their people have won the EU's Sakharov Prize for human rights.
Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of the Liberal ALDE group, said Thursday that Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar were "inspirational women who have shown incredible bravery and humanity in the face of despicable brutality. I am proud that they have been awarded the 2016 Sakharov Prize."
Parliamentarian Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, who backed the two winners' nominations, said the prize is "a recognition of Nadia's and Lamiya's fight throughout their life. Both have impressively overcome the brutal sexual slavery they were exposed to by jihadist terrorists and become an example for all of us".
The award, named after Soviet dissident Andrei Sakharov, was created in 1988 to honor individuals or groups who defend human rights and fundamental freedoms. Last year's winner was Saudi blogger Raif Badawi. Former winners include Nelson Mandela of South Africa and Aung San Suu Kyi from Myanmar.
Among the finalists this year were the Crimean Tatars and a former Turkish newspaper editor.