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2 Yazidi women Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar win 2016 Sakharov Human Right Prize

Two Yazidi women Nadia Murad Basee and Lamiya Aji Bashar have been selected for European Union’s prestigious Sakharov Prize for Human Rights for year 2016.

Both of them were among thousands of Yazidi girls and women who were abducted by Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and forced into sexual slavery in 2014. But both survived and had escaped sexual enslavement. Now they campaign for the Yazidi community.

They also have become figureheads for effort to protect Yazidis, followers of an ancient religion with more than half a million believers concentrated in northern Iraq.

About Sakharov Prize

  • The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is annual award given by the European Parliament.
  • It is bestowed on individuals or organisations who have dedicated their lives to the defence of human rights and freedom of thought.
  • It was established in December 1988 and is named after Soviet scientist (physicist) and dissident Andrei Sakharov.
  • The first prize was jointly awarded to Nelson Mandela and Russian human rights campaigner Anatoly Marchenko.
  • It is awarded annually on or around December 10 (also celebrated as Human Rights Day), day on which UN General Assembly ratified Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948.

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Renowned Iraqi-British Architect Zaha Hadid passes away

Renowned Iraqi-born British architect Zaha Hadid passed away due to heart attack. She was 65.

She was world’s most famous female architect and was known for her neofuturistic design which was her signature architectural style.

She was the first female winner of the top Pritzker Architecture Prize (2004), also known as the Nobel for architecture.

About Zaha Hadid

  • Born on 31st October 1950 in Baghdad, Iraq.
  • Hadid first had studied mathematics at the American University in Lebanon and later pursued architecture at the Architectural Association in London in 1972.
  • She had designed the London Aquatics Centre, which was used during the 2012 London Olympics.
  • She also designed the Al Wakrah Stadium, which is under construction for the 2022 Qatar Football World Cup.
  • Some of her notable architectural projects: Italian National Museum of 21st Century Arts (Rome), Heydar Aliyev Centre (Baku), Rosenthal Center for Contemporary Art (Cincinnati) and Guangzhou Opera House (China).
  • Awards and Honours: Pritzker Prize (2004), Royal Gold Medal in architecture (2016) by the Royal Institute of British Architects.
  • Twice won the RIBA Stirling Prize, Britain’s most prestigious architecture award in 2010 and 2011. Queen Elizabeth II had honoured her with a damehood (knighthood) in 2012.

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US house passes bill to restrict entry of Syrian, Iraqi refugees

Republican-dominated US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly voted to bar Syrian and Iraqi refugees from entering the United States over the security concerns.

The bill was overwhelmingly voted by 289 in favour to 137 opposed and bill now needs to be passed by the Senate. It seeks to impose more stringent security provisions on already robust screening of Iraqi and Syrian refugees entering US.

The passage of bill is consider as a major setback for the Obama administration as the US President had opposed such a move and also because a large block of Democratic lawmakers voted in favour of the bill. The bill was also passed amid of threat by President Barack Obama to veto it.

Comment

The passage of Bill by US House of Representatives also follows the barbaric terrorist attacks in Paris (France) on 13 November 2015 by seven Islamic State radicals which left 129 people dead. One of these seven perpetuators is thought to have been a Syrian refugee who entered Europe via Greece along the other refugees.

Earlier in September 2015, Obama administration had announced its plan to resettle around 10,000 Syrian refugees in the US till September 2016.

Since Syrian civil war which began in 2011 to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad regime, millions of Syrians have fled to neighbouring countries and to Europe.

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