Two Yazidi women who were abducted by Islamic State militants in 2014 and used as sex slaves have accepted the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought and expression.
Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar were announced as the recipients in October and were given the prize Tuesday during a ceremony in Strasbourg, France.
The two women are among as many as 7,000 thousand Yazidi women and girls who have been kidnapped and sold as sex slaves under Islamic State rule. Another 5,000 people were killed in an attempt to wipe out the religious sect.
They were taken from their village near Sinjar in northwestern Iraq in 2014.An Islamic State siege of the area drew the first airstrikes from a U.S.-led coalition in August 2014, which expanded to other areas of Iraq and to Syria.
Murad and Bashar have been working to raise awareness about the treatment of Yazidis, which the United Nations has called a genocide.
Bashar said in accepting the prize she has decided to be a "voice for the voiceless," and urged the parliament members to never allow these kinds of things to happen again.She also called for children who have been victims of the militants to receive psychological support.
Murad said Islamic State targets those who stand against their ideology, and that those responsible for rights violations should be held accountable at the international level.
Murad told the U.N. Security Council last year that Islamic State's goal was to eliminate all Yazidis because they were seen as infidels.She urged the council to take action to liberate Yazidi areas and to eliminate the militant group.
Earlier this month she said on Twitter she is "not happy about the results but still hopeful human consciousness will prevail."
The award is named for Andrei Sakharov, a dissident Soviet scientist who died in 1989, and is given each year to people who stand up for human rights.
Source: Voice of America