The European Parliament awarded its Sakharov Prize to Nadia Murad and Lamiya Aji Bashar, two Iraqi Yazidi women who were held as sex slaves by Islamic State militants.
Murad and Bashar were among thousands of women and girls abducted, tortured and sexually abused by Islamic State fighters after the militants rounded up Yazidis in the village of Kocho, near Sinjar in northwest Iraq, in 2014.
The Yazidi are a religious sect whose beliefs combine elements of several ancient Middle Eastern religions. Islamic State considers them devil-worshippers.
Islamic State insurgents overran Sinjar in August 2014, systematically killing, capturing and enslaving thousands of Yazidi inhabitants.
Mass Yazidi graves have been uncovered in the area north of Sinjar mountain, which was taken from IS in Dec. 2014. Kurdish forces retook Sinjar town in November 2014 in a two-day offensive backed by airstrikes from a U.S.-led coalition
The Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, named after the late Russian dissident and scientist Andrei Sakharov is awarded each year by the European Parliament.
Set up in 1988, it honours individuals and organisations defending human rights and basic freedoms.