Lamiya Aji Bashar and Nadia Murad have been awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. They talked to DW about what the prize means to them and how the EU can help the Yazidi community.
DW: Given the situation we have now in Iraq, the fight for Mosul, and the many women still in the same situation you were in, do you have hope for those who are still in Iraq at the moment?
Lamiya Aji Bashar: Frankly yes, we have hope. We cannot stop hoping. We are hopeful that the captives will be liberated and freed, yes. We look forward to the day when Daesh (the Arabic acronym for Islamic State, or IS) will be held accountable for the crimes and I hope that the captives will be liberated and freed.
Nadia Murad: For me, it is not about hope. We should combat Daesh. We should stop the interaction between Daesh in Iraq and Syria. Then Daesh will be diminished as a force and will lose ground – and then we will liberate the girls and women in an easier way. So it is not a question of hope. We have to combat Daesh so that we can liberate everybody.
DW: Do you think enough is being done at the moment, to liberate women who are in the same situation that you were in?
Murad: No, for more than two years now the captives are still with Daesh. Those who were liberated, liberated themselves. They did not know what their fate would be – either death or liberation. I think the world has not done enough yet. Daesh has taken women from their houses, they sell them. These women do not know when Daesh members will come and get them. So there were no parties that supported Yazidis to liberate their women. There are some people who go and pay huge sums of money to liberate some girls and women. But that is not enough. You know that the sums of money do not go to Daesh but to those who actually jeopardize their life in order to go and liberate women.
Aji Bashar: Yes, for more that two years now, most of the captives have not been liberated yet. Many countries lay down their arms – they do not do anything. Some people try to liberate their acquaintances through other people, but it is a dangerous adventure. So far, we have not seen enough that has been done to liberate our children, our women, from Daesh.