New York

16 September 2016

Secretary-General's remarks to appointment ceremony of Ms. Nadia Murad Basee Taha as UNODC Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking

My thanks to UNODC for organizing this very special event.  

Today we are giving real meaning to the International Day of Peace with this appointment. 

I am honoured to name Ms. Nadia Murad Basee Taha as Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Nadia is a fierce and tireless advocate for the Yazidi people and victims of human trafficking everywhere. 

She was subjected to unspeakable abuse and human rights violations at the hands of ISIL. Nadia has shown exceptional courage in speaking out. She gives a much-needed voice to trafficking victims who continue to suffer, and who demand justice. 

Many of us were moved to tears by her powerful testimony at the first-ever UN Security Council session on trafficking in persons in situations of conflict last December, and at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul in May. 

Nadia shows with her life how important it is to fight for trafficking victims. They deserve justice. And when we empower them, they can help transform our world. 

It is two years since ISIL seized Sinjar. It is unconscionable that thousands of Yazidi, in particular women and children, continue to be held captive. I call for their immediate release. And I repeat: the crimes committed by ISIL in Iraq against the Yazidi may constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity and even genocide.
We must provide care and support for trafficking victims and other survivors of violence, abuse and exploitation. 

I salute the Yazidi community for embracing all of the victims and putting the shame where it belongs – on the perpetrators, who must be brought to justice.

Conflict, terrorism, poverty and inequality have left far too many people around the world acutely vulnerable to human traffickers, abusive smugglers and other criminals who seek to exploit suffering for profit.

Refugees and migrants need protection and assistance. Next week’s summit will revitalize our commitment to combat the crimes of human trafficking and migrant smuggling by governing migration in a safe and rights-based way, by creating accessible pathways for entry, and by tackling root causes. 

I urge all parties to ratify and fully implement the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its protocol on human trafficking, together with all core international human rights and humanitarian instruments.

I also call on governments, businesses and other partners to support the UN Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. It is helping survivors to rebuild their lives and contribute to their communities and to wider society. 

Dear Nadia,

I am proud to welcome you as a Goodwill Ambassador for UNODC. 

There is no better testament to human resilience and the UN spirit of solidarity than the strength, dignity and extraordinary courage you show every day in telling your story, and working for a better world.

Thank you.