'Extremely proud': Rona Ambrose on Nadia Murad's Nobel Peace Prize win
Jackie Dunham, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Friday, October 5, 2018 2:04PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, October 5, 2018 2:05PM EDT
When Rona Ambrose heard the news that Nadia Murad had won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work educating others about the use of sexual violence in war, she burst into tears.
The former MP and interim leader of the Conservative Party of Canada worked closely with the Iraqi woman to bring Yazidi women and girls fleeing sexual slavery under ISIS rule to Canada and saw her courage first hand.
“I was overcome with emotion to see that she’s recognized for the work that she’s done and the safety and security that she’s brought to literally thousands of women and girls that have suffered persecution and torture that is just unimaginable for most of us,” Ambrose told CTVNews.ca during a telephone interview from London on Friday morning.
Murad became a global advocate for victims of sexual violence after she escaped torture and rape by ISIS militants in Iraq in 2014.
Two years later, she became a UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking at the age of 23 and has used her platform ever since to bring attention to the plight of the Yazidi people – a persecuted religious minority in northern Iraq.
On Friday, Murad was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to share with Dr. Denis Mukwege, a Congolese doctor who treats victims of sexual abuse.
Ambrose called Murad’s win “well deserved” and credits her with pressuring the Liberals to create a special program to provide safe haven to Yazidi refugees when she travelled to Parliament Hill in October 2016.
“She was able to bring the face and the story to such a real place,” Ambrose said. “She came to Ottawa and visited with MPs. We did a press conference. It was just undeniable at that point that the government had to do something and of course they did and I thank them for that.”
On a personal level, Ambrose said the time she spent with Murad in Ottawa and the work they accomplished together was one of the proudest moments of her life.
“The courage that she showed to get past that kind of pain and to be able to advocate and articulate the need for support for these girls was just the most inspiring thing I’ve ever been a part of,” she said.
Since the House of Commons committed to labelling the persecution of Yazidis genocide and providing asylum to them, more than 1,000 refugees fleeing ISIS have come to Canada with 81 per cent of those being Yazidi, according to a spokesperson for Immigration Minister Ahmed Hussen.
“I was just a small part of it, but I’m proud to have led the charge in Canada so that we could bring Yazidi girls over,” Ambrose said. “Nadia is the advocate for the world and she was the person who inspired me and inspired many, many people to get involved in this cause.”
Ambrose said Murad’s win is important on a broader level because it brings attention to a topic that has been often overlooked.
“These kinds of issues that she dealt with, they have not always been recognized in the public sphere in the way that they should by organizations like the Nobel,” she said. “For these issues to be raised to this level is I think incredibly important for the dialogue around the world.”
For Ambrose, Murad’s perseverance and determination to help other victims continues to be a great source of inspiration to her.
“She is, after knowing what she’s gone through, the most poised woman, most courageous young woman, I’ve ever met and so I’m just extremely proud her,” Ambrose said, her voice cracking.
With files from The Canadian Press