Human rights defenders in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, Nobel Peace Prize

Belarusian Ales Bialiatski and the Russian organizations Memorial and the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties will receive the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize “for the right to criticize power” and “denounce crimes against humanity,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced Friday. based in Oslo.

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 laureates.

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.

Bialiatski created Viasna (Spring) “in response to constitutional reforms that gave authoritarian powers to the president, who is currently detained without trial,” recalled Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the committee, announcing the shared award.

As for the Russian NGO Memorial, the committee recalls that it collected and verified information on abuses and war crimes perpetrated against the population by Russian and pro-Russian forces. “In 2009, the head of the Memorial branch in Chechnya, Natalia Estemirova, was killed because of this work.”

Memorial is based on the notion that confronting past crimes is essential to preventing new ones. The organization has also been at the forefront of efforts to combat militarism and promote human rights and a government based on the rule of law, the organization explained.

Memorial was created in 1987 by human rights activists in the former Soviet Union who wanted to ensure that the victims of the communist regime’s oppression were never forgotten.

As for the Center for Civil Liberties, it was founded with the purpose of promoting human rights and democracy in Ukraine. “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 notes.

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.”

“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,” he adds.

The one for Peace is the fifth of the awards announced so far, after those for Medicine, Physics, Chemistry and Literature, and it succeeds the one awarded in 2021 to two journalists, the Filipino María Ressa and the Russian Dmitry Muratov.

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Human rights defenders in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, Nobel Peace Prize