The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded in Oslo this Friday, October 7 to a trio of representatives of civil societies in Eastern Europe: the Belarusian activist Ales Bialiatski, the Russian NGO Memorial and the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties, a highly symbolic prize in the midst of the war in Ukraine.
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to honor three outstanding champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence in the three neighboring countries Belarus, Russia and Ukraine”said its president Berit Reiss-Andersen.
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“They have been promoting for many years the right to criticize power and to protect the fundamental rights of citizens. They have made an exceptional effort to document war crimes, human rights violations and abuses of power. Together they demonstrate the importance of civil society for peace and democracy”she continued.
The consecration of the “fight for freedom”
When announcing the prize, the Nobel committee called on Belarus to release activist and co-winner Ales Bialiatski, who has been detained since July 14, 2021. “Our message is to urge the authorities in Belarus to release Mr. Bialiatski and we hope that happens and that he comes to Oslo to receive the award”said Berit Reiss-Andersen. “But there are thousands of political prisoners in Belarus and I’m afraid maybe my wish is not very realistic. »
The Leader of the Opposition Svetlana Tikhanovskaya considered that this award was recognition of the struggle of Belarusians against the regime of Alexander Lukashenko. “The award is an important recognition for all Belarusians fighting for freedom and democracy”she wrote on Twitter.
Alex Bialiatski’s wife Natalia Pintchouk said she was overwhelmed by the“emotion” to AFP, welcoming “the recognition of the work of Ales, of its collaborators, of its organization”.
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A prize for human rights activists
Berit Reiss-Andersen also clarified that the Nobel Peace Prize was not directed against Putin.
This price “is not directed against the president [russe Vladimir] Putin, for his birthday [ce vendredi] or anything else, except that his government, like that of Belarus, is an authoritarian government that preys on human rights activists”, she said. In Russia, “Civil society and human rights defenders are being suppressed and that is what we want to signify with this award”.
In 2021, two journalists were honored: the Russian Dmitri Mouratov and the Filipina Maria Ressa. Respectively at the head of the Russian opposition newspapers “Novaya Gazeta” and the Philippine “Rappler”, the Nobel jury wanted to reward “their courageous fight for freedom of expression”.
The prize, which consists of a diploma, a gold medal and a check for 10 million crowns (912,000 euros) to be shared between the winners, will be awarded on December 10 in Oslo.
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Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Belarusian activist Ales Bialiatski and two NGOs, Russian and Ukrainian