Awardees from around the world

Yazidi activist Mirza Dinnayi awarded U.S. international religious freedom award

ERBIL, January 23 – Yazidi activist and former presidential advisor Mirza Dinnayi was awarded the United States Secretary of State’s International Religious Freedom Award 2023 on January 18. Dinnayi, who has devoted three decades to advocating for Yazidi rights, particularly in the aftermath of the 2014 genocide, expressed his gratitude in an interview with 964media.

The International Religious Freedom Award recognizes individuals around the world who champion the rights and religious freedom of persecuted communities. This year’s recipients included Dinnayi as well as awardees from New Zealand, Tibet, Lithuania, Nigeria, South Africa, Nicaragua, and Pakistan.

Dinnayi emphasized the symbolic yet substantial significance of the award, saying he considered it a form of acknowledgment and support for activists dedicated to religious freedom in Iraq. He highlighted, in particular, the plight of the Yazidi community, which has endured systematic persecution.

Dinnayi asserted that humanitarian causes merit attention, and urged continued efforts for justice, equality, mutual respect, and peace. He attributed his award to his decades-long fight for Yazidi rights, and especially for his humanitarian initiatives following the 2014 genocide.

Born in 1973 in Nineveh’s Sinjar district Dinnayi gained international recognition by winning the Aurora Prize for Awakening Humanity in 2019. Beyond his advisory role with President Jalal Talabani and former Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, he furthered his impact by establishing the House of Coexistence in Sinjar in 2022.

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