The Lantos Foundation for Human Rights and Justice is proud to announce that our highest honor, the Lantos Human Rights Prize, will be awarded to Iraqi parliamentarian and ISIS’ “most wanted” woman, Vian Dakhil, at an award ceremony in Washington, D.C. on February 8, 2017 at the U.S. Capitol.
Dakhil will be given the 2016 award for her courageous defense of the Yazidi people as they faced mass genocide two years ago at the hands of the Islamic State and for her ongoing rescue mission on behalf of enslaved Yazidi women. Former recipients of the Lantos Prize include, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Professor Elie Wiesel, and Israeli President Shimon Peres.
Lantos Foundation President Katrina Lantos Swett said in a statement regarding the selection of Dakhil, “Two years ago, MP Vian Dakhil, through an eloquent speech before the Iraqi parliament, single-handedly moved the governments of Iraq and the United States to intervene on behalf of the Yazidi people. As a result of her impassioned plea, thousands of lives were saved. However, her efforts did not stop there. She has done more than almost anyone else to try to free women and children who have been enslaved and brutalized by ISIS. In addition to using her membership in parliament to advocate on behalf of the Yazidi people, Dakhil has also led dangerous rescue missions – one of which almost took her life. Vian Dakhil is truly a hero and savior, and we are tremendously excited to present her with this award.”
The Lantos Foundation established the Lantos Human Rights Prize in 2009 to honor and bring attention to heroes of the human rights movement. It is awarded annually to an individual or organization that best exemplifies the Foundation’s mission, namely to be a vital voice standing up for the values of decency, dignity, freedom, and justice in every corner of the world. The prize also serves to honor the memory and legacy of the late Congressman Tom Lantos, the only Holocaust survivor ever elected to the U.S. Congress and a leading advocate for human rights during his nearly three decades as a U.S. Representative.