The Nobel Peace Prize rewards the struggle for human rights in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus

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The Nobel Peace Prize awards the struggle for human rights in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus

The Nobel Peace Prize2022 has recognized the struggle for human rights in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, a powerful message in the midst of strong>war. The Committee The Norwegian Nobel laureate has awarded the Belarusian political activist Ales Bialiatski, the Russian human rights organization Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties,three outstanding champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence”, in the words of Berit Reiss-Andersen, the committee's president.

“The Nobel Peace Prize laureates represent civil society in their countries of origin. For many years they have promoted the right to criticize power and to protect the fundamental rights of citizens,” the committee explained. ;, based in Oslo. “They have gone to extraordinary lengths to document war crimes, human rights violations and abuse of power. Together they demonstrate the importance of civil society for peace strong>and democracy“.

Moscow; and Minsk have scorned the awards and at night the Russian justice has ordered the expropriationfrom the headquarters of Memorial on Karetniy Riad street in the capital. “It has become state property,” the Tverskoy court explained to the Interfax news agency after a trial against the NGO, which is no longer active in the country after being banned earlier this year. .

Bialiatski, 60, is known for his humanitarian work as the founder of the Viasna Human Rights Center, which since 1996 has denounced the repression and abuse of power of the regime led by Aleksandr Lukashenko, historical ally of Vladimir Putin–it has allowed Russian troops to circulate through its territory to launch the attack on Ukraine– and known as the last dictator of Europe. Internationally recognized, this activist was imprisoned in 2011 and spent three years in prison charged with tax evasion. For the time being, Bialiatski will not be able to go to Oslo to collect the prestigious award, because in 2021 he returned to be arrested after participating in the massive social protests against elections on suspicion of fraud. The committee The Nobel laureate has called for his release.

“Moral strength”

This year's Nobel Peace Prize has also recognized the work of two organizations that work in the midst of a theater of war. On the one hand, the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties, a cross-border project in the post-Soviet space that has been documenting abuses since 2007, such as political persecution in Crimea (peninsula annexed by force to Russia in 2014) or the crimes against humanity perpetrated after the military invasionUkrainian Russian. The center's director, Oleksandra Matviichuk, has claimed to be “happy” with the award through her Facebook profile and has demanded that the Russian president, his Belarusian counterpart “and other war criminals” appear before a international court.

On the other hand, the Russian organization Memorial, closed in early 2022 after years of persecution by the Kremlin strong>. For 30 years, this group of activists in defense of historical memory and human rights denounced and highlighted the crimes committed against innocent citizens during the Soviet era. In 2014 it was accused He called the organization out of being a “foreign agent” and last December he was its closure for allegedly not having reported that label in one of its social media posts. “This award gives moral strength” in “these depressing times”, the president of Memorial International, Ian Rachinski, told the press, before remembering “those who are in prison” , citing in particular Alexei Navalni and Ilia Yachin, two Russian opposition figures.

Other candidates

Although this is probably the most difficult category of Nobel Prize winners to predict, the Russian opposition politician was also on the list of favorites Alekséi Navalni, the Belarusian opponent Svetlana Thikhanovskaya, the British nature broadcaster David Attenborough, the World Health Organization (WHO), the environmental activist Greta Thunberg, Pope Francis, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tuvalu, Simon Kofe, and the government of National Unity from Burma. Those were some of the candidates put forward by Norwegian lawmakers.

Last year, the Nobel Peace Prize laureates were Filipino journalist Maria Ressa and journalist Russian Dmitri Muratov. Both reporters were recognized for their efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, “an indispensable condition for democracy and lasting peace”, in the Philippines of Rodrigo Duterte and the Russia of Putin, hostile autocracies for the journalistic exercise. Since then, both Ressa and Muratov have had to fight back against accusations and attempts by those governments to censor and silence their media outlets.