Yazidi rights advocate shrugs off criticisms over Israel visit

International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney arrives with Yazidi survivor Nadia Murad (R) to meet with United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres (not pictured), at U.N. headquarters in New York, U.S., March 10, 2017. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Baghdad ( Former Yazidi Islamic State captive Nadia Murad defended her recent visit to Israel against criticisms, saying the visit was part of her role as a United Nations goodwill ambassador.

On her facebook page late Wednesday, Murad said a part of her humanitarian role was to “visit a number of recognized U.N. member states, especially countries where women and children fall victims to conflicts and wars”. She said her visit to Israel came to continue her campaign to raise awareness of  genocides and human rights crimes committed “against all components of the region”, adding that she met, during the visit, with Jewish, Arab and Christian activists alike.

“I had already visited more than 27 countries, including Arab and Islamic ones,” she wrote.

“I maintain an impartial stance on all conflicts in the Middle East,” said Murad. “I do not accept one-upmanship to my activity”.

Murad wrapped up on Tuesday a five-day visit to Israel which was organized by IsraAID humanitarian organization; the Combat Genocide Association; and the Israel office of the Society for International Development (SID).

Murad rose to the spotlight as one of the most famous survivors from the Iraqi Yazidi minority of which thousands had been massacred, enslaved and tortured by Islamic State militants when they occupied a third of Iraq in 2014.

Iraq is one of several Arab and Islamic countries which do not recognize Israel and have condemned Israeli occupation of Arab and Palestinian territories since the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948.

Murad’s recent visit comes as tensions heighten between Palestinians and Israeli forces which have recently banned prayer at the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, a spot extremely consecrated by

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