The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded this Friday, October 7, in Oslo to the Belarusian opponent Ales Bialiatski, known for his work at the head of the Viasna Human Rights Center, the Russian human rights NGO Memorial and the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties. Entering the eighth month of war in Ukraine, the Norwegian Nobel committee decided to honor human rights defenders in the context of the conflict.
On a date that coincidentally coincides with the anniversary of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Norwegian committee decided to honor three outstanding human rights defenders in the context of the war in Ukraine.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee “wishes to honor three outstanding champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence in neighboring Belarus, Russia and Ukraine,” it said in announcing the names of the winners: Ales Bialiatskifrom the Viasna Human Rights Center, to the Russian human rights NGO Memorial already the ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the 2022 #NobelPeacePrize to human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organization Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties. #NobelPrize pic.twitter.com/9YBdkJpDLU
— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 7, 2022
Ales Bialiatski, 60, is a Belarusian activist known for his work as director of the Viasna Center for Human Rights, the main DD organization. H H. from Belarus.
Bialiatski “was one of the initiators of the democratic movement that emerged in Belarus in the mid-1980s. He has dedicated his life to promoting democracy and peaceful development in his country of origin,” the committee said.
The Belarusian opponent has been imprisoned since 2011 for a case of tax fraud, a cause that the opponent describes as political. Bialiatski created Viasna (Spring) “in response to constitutional reforms that gave authoritarian powers to the president. He is currently being held without trial,” recalled Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Nobel committee.
The committee called on Alexander Lukashenko’s regime to release Bialiatsky. “We hope that this will happen and that he will come to Oslo to receive the award, but there are thousands of political prisoners in Belarus and I am afraid that my wish is not very realistic,” the president said.
Memorial, the oldest human rights NGO in Russia
Memorial was founded in 1987 by dissidents from the USSR, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov. Its main mission was to bring to light the stories of millions of victims of Soviet crimes. According to the NGO, it is essential to do memory work and denounce past crimes to prevent them from being repeated in the future.
“In 2009, the head of the Memorial branch in Chechnya, Natalia Estemirova, was killed because of this work,” the Norwegian committee recalled.
Before the start of the war, in December 2021, the Russian Supreme Court announced the liquidation of the NGO, in a context of stronger and stronger repression by the Vladimir Putin regime.
The organization had said before the trial that it would try to continue its work, even if banned, and since then its members have continued their work in exile in various countries around the world.
The Center for Civil Liberties, dedicated to promote human rights and democracy in Ukraine
The Center for Civil Liberties, a Ukrainian NGO, was founded in 2007 in kyiv. “He has taken a position to strengthen Ukrainian civil society and put pressure on the authorities to make Ukraine a full-fledged democracy,” the committee explained.
The NGO carries out human rights monitoring missions, works with young people to train a new generation of activists, and to educate the country about the importance of human rights.
The organization recorded more than 20,000 war crimes since the start of the conflict. According to the committee, the Ukrainian center “has become an important source for documenting war crimes by Russia and plays a ‘pioneering role’ in holding the guilty to account.”
“When someone’s work is recognized, especially at such a level, it is a motivation to do even more, to undertake new important initiatives, important projects for peace in our country, freedom and democracy,” reacted Anna Trushova, communication director from the center.
This year, 343 names (251 people and 92 organizations) were shortlisted for the award, including Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Swedish activist Greta Thunberg and Russian activist Alexei Navalny.
“With their continued efforts in favor of humanistic values, anti-militarism and the principles of law, this year’s winners have reinvigorated and honored Alfred Nobel’s vision of peace and brotherhood among nations, a much-needed vision in the world of today,” the committee added.
The peace prize is the fifth of the awards announced so far, after Medicine, Physics, Chemistry and Literature. It is the only Nobel that is awarded in Oslo, the other disciplines are awarded in Stockholm.
With EFE, Reuters and AFP
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