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European Parliament Awards Sakharov Prize to Yazidi Women Nadia Murad and Lamis Haji Bashar from Iraq

The award is named after Andrei Sakharov, a Soviet scientist who died in 1989, and is given each year to people who stand up for human rights

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Nadia Murad Basee, a 21-year-old Iraqi woman of the Yazidi faith, speaks to members of the Security Council during a meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York. VOA

October 27, 2016: Two Yazidi women from Iraq who were abducted by Islamic State militants in 2014 have been awarded the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize for freedom of thought and expression.

Nadia Murad and Lamis Haji Bashar are two out of thousands of Yazidi women who have been kidnapped and used as sexual slaves by the radical Islamist group. They were taken from their village near Sinjar in northwest Iraq during the summer of 2014.

The two women are now considered leaders in the movement to protect other Yazidis living in regions overrun by IS fighters and have called for the recognition of the massacre of Yazidis as a genocide.

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.

The IS militants consider Yazidis to be devil-worshippers and inferior in their religious beliefs. (VOA)

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North Korea Economy: Private Markets Target of Corruption, Human Rights Abuses

North Korea’s state-run rationing system collapsed in the mid-1990s amid a devastating famine and economic crisis

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North Korea, Economy, Private Markets
UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea, Tomas Ojea Quintana gestures as he attends a press conference, June 7, 2018 in Geneva. VOA

North Koreans eking out a living in the country’s thriving, informal private markets are regularly subjected to corruption and various forms of human rights abuses, according to a new United Nations report.

North Korea’s state-run rationing system collapsed in the mid-1990s amid a devastating famine and economic crisis, leading to the creation of unofficial commercial markets in the socialist regime.

North Korea, Economy, Private Markets
Informal private markets are regularly subjected to corruption and various forms of human rights abuses, according to a new United Nations report. Pixabay

The report by the U.N.’s Office of Human Rights says the failure to legitimize these markets has exposed ordinary North Koreans to potential arrest, prosecution and detention. Corrupt, low-paid officials use the threat of arrest to extort bribes from people with the ability and willingness to pay.

The U.N. report was based on interviews from 214 North Koreans who have defected from the regime and resettled in South Korea.

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The report blames the situation on the priority the regime places on supporting its military and developing its nuclear weapons program over adequately providing for its people. (VOA)