Nobel Peace Prize 2022: Belarus activist Ales Bialiatski, human rights organisations Memorial of Russia, Center for Civil Liberties of Ukraine joint winners

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Stockholm: This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to jailed Belarus rights activist Ales Bialiatski, the Russian group Memorial and the Ukrainian organisation Center for Civil Liberties.

The winner was announced Friday in Oslo by Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

The award has in the past put a spotlight on groups and activists trying to prevent conflicts, alleviate hardship and protect human rights.

The official Twitter handle of The Nobel Prize announced: “The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the 2022 #NobelPeacePrize to human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organisation Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organisation Center for Civil Liberties. “

“The peace prize laureates represent civil society in their home countries. They have for many years promoted the right to criticise power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens. They have made an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human right abuses and the abuse of power. Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee noted.

While announcing the recipients, Committee Chair Berit Reiss-Anderse called on Belarus to release Byalyatski from prison.

Ales Bialiatski was one of the initiators of the democracy movement that emerged in Belarus in the mid-1980s. He has devoted his life to promoting democracy and peaceful development in his home country.

He founded the organisation Viasna (Spring), in 1996. Viasna evolved into a broad-based human rights organisation that documented and protested against the authorities’ use of torture against political prisoners.

Government authorities have repeatedly sought to silence Bialiatski. “Since 2020, he is still detained without trial. Despite tremendous personal hardship, Bialiatski has not yielded an inch in his fight for human rights and democracy in Belarus,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee noted.

Moreover, Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties was founded for the purpose of advancing human rights and democracy. It has taken a stand to strengthen Ukrainian civil society and pressure the authorities to make Ukraine a full-fledged democracy.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the center has engaged in efforts to identify and document Russian war crimes against the Ukrainian population. The center is playing a pioneering role in holding guilty parties accountable for their crimes.

In addition, human rights organisation Memorial, was established in 1987 by human rights activists in the former Soviet Union who wanted to ensure that the victims of the communist regime’s oppression would never be forgotten.

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

During the Chechen wars, Memorial, gathered and verified information on abuses and war crimes perpetrated on the population by Russian and pro-Russian forces. In 2009, the head of Memorial’s branch in Chechnya, Natalia Estemirova, was killed because of this work.

The Nobel Peace Prize is being given since 1901, five years after the death of its founder Alfred Nobel. 102 peace prizes have been awarded till 2021.

The Nobel Prize announcements commenced on 3 October with declaring the Physiology or Medicine winners and will end on October 10 after announcing the recipient for Economic Sciences.

The winners for 2022 will receive a cash award of 10 million Swedish kronor (nearly $900,000) and will be handed out on December 10.

 

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