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Ales Bialiatski, Memorial and Center for Civil Liberties were the laureates. Photo: Twitter Nobel Prize
Ales Bialiatski, Memorial and Center for Civil Liberties were the laureates. Photo: Twitter- Nobel Prize

Nobel Peace Prize goes to rights defenders in Russia and Ukraine

Ales Bialiatski, Memorial and The Center for Civil Liberties were recognized for their work amid the War in Ukraine.

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Belarusian pro-Democracy activist Ales Bialiatski, Memorial, and The Center for Civil Liberties (two organizations) were honored for their work in Ukraine and Russia protecting the fundamental rights of citizens and demonstrating the importance of civil society in building peace and democracy with Nobel Peace Prizes in 2022.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee "wishes to honor three outstanding champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence in neighboring Belarus, Russia and Ukraine," the Nobel Committee said during the presentation of the awards.

In addition, the committee added that the winners have for many years promoted "the right to criticize power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens."

About the winners

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 home country," said Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the committee.

The Russian NGO, Memorial, was responsible for collecting and verifying information on abuses and war crimes perpetrated against the population by Russian and pro-Russian forces.

"In 2009, the head of Memorial's Chechnya branch, Natalia Estemirova, was killed because of this work," the committee recalled.

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 organizers explained. 

Finally, the Center for Civil Liberties has aimed to promote human rights and democracy in Ukraine since 2007 when it was founded.

"The Center has taken a stand to strengthen Ukrainian civil society and put pressure on the authorities to make Ukraine a full-fledged democracy," the Nobel Foundation said of the rights organization.

After announcing the awards, Reiss-Andersen highlighted the "importance" of the winners for "promoting other values than those of war and aggression" in the midst of a war in Europe "with global effects."

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