Nobel Peace Prize for 2022
Category : Message69
The Nobel Peace Prize has this year been awarded to one individual and two to human rights advocates: Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organisation Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organisation Centre for Civil Liberties organisations.
The Peace Prize laureates represent civil society in their home countries. For many years, they have 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 wishes to honour three outstanding champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence in the three neighbouring Belarusians, Russia and Ukraine,” said its president Berit Reiss-Andersen.
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. Among other things, he founded the organisation Viasna (spring) in 1996 in response to the controversial constitutional amendments that gave the president, dictatorial powers and that triggered widespread demonstrations. Viasna provided support for the jailed demonstrators and their families. In the years that followed, 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 Ales Bialiatski. He was imprisoned from 2011 to 2014. He was again arrested, following large-scale demonstrations against the regime in 2020. He is still detained without trial. Despite tremendous personal hardship, Mr Bialiatski has not yielded an inch in his fight for human rights and democracy in Belarus.
The Centre for Civil Liberties was founded in Kyiv in 2007 for advancing human rights and democracy in Ukraine. The centre has taken a stand to strengthen Ukrainian civil society and pressure the authorities to make Ukraine a full-fledged democracy. To develop Ukraine into a state governed by rule of law, the Centre for Civil Liberties has actively advocated that Ukraine become affiliated with the International Criminal Court.
After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Centre for Civil Liberties has engaged in efforts to identify and document Russian war crimes against the Ukrainian civilian population. In collaboration with international partners, the centre is playing a pioneering role with a view to holding the guilty parties accountable for their crimes.
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 established the human rights organisation Memorial in 1987. Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov and human rights advocate Svetlana Gannushkina were among the founders. Memorial is based on the notion that confronting past crimes is essential in preventing new ones.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Memorial grew to become the largest human rights organisation in Russia. In addition to establishing a centre of documentation on victims of the Stalinist era, Memorial compiled and systematised information on political oppression and human rights violations in Russia. Memorial became the most authoritative source of information on political prisoners in Russian detention facilities. 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.
By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 2022 to Ales Bialiatski, Memorial and the Centre for Civil Liberties, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to honour three outstanding champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful co-existence in the neighbour countries Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. Through their consistent efforts in favour of humanist values, anti-militarism and principles of law, this year’s laureates have revitalised and honoured Alfred Nobel’s vision of peace and fraternity between nations – a vision most needed in the world today.
(UNHCR and Internet sources)