Nobel Peace Prize 2022: Norwegian Nobel Committee Honours 'Human Rights' Defenders | Explained

The Russian Group Memorial was labelled as a "foreign agent" from the beginning as part of the government's harassment campaign against it. The decision to forcibly liquidate Memorial and permanently close the documentation centre was made by the authorities last year.

Nobel Peace Prize 2022: Norwegian Nobel Committee Honours 'Human Rights' Defenders | Explained
Oleksandra Matviichuk, head of the Center for Civil Liberties in Ukraine, jailed activist Ales Bialiatski and Alexander Cherkasov, Memorial's chairman.

The Nobel Peace Prize for this year has been awarded to jailed Blearus activist Ales Bialiatski, the Russian group Memorial, and the Ukrainian Organization Center for Civil Liberties.

The winner was announced by Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, on Friday in Oslo. The Committee decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2022 to one individual and two organisations.


Here is all you need to know about these winners:


Ales Bialistski

Ales is one of the founders of the democracy movement that arose in Belarus in the middle of the 1980s. He has dedicated his life to advancing democracy and non-violent growth in his native nation. He established the Viasna (Spring) organisation in 1996, among other things, in opposition to the contentious constitutional changes that gave the president autocratic powers and led to large-scale protests. The demonstrators who were imprisoned and their families received assistance from Viasna. Viasna developed into a broad-based human rights organisation in the years that followed, documenting and denouncing the use of torture by the government against political detainees.

Ales Bialiatski has been the target of numerous attempts by the government to silence him. He was detained between 2011 and 2014. He was detained once more in 2020 after significant anti-regime protests. He remains in custody pending a trial. Despite facing extreme personal adversity,Bialiatski has persisted in his fight for democracy and human rights in Belarus.


Russian Group Memorial

In order to ensure that the victims of the oppression of the communist dictatorship would never be forgotten, human rights advocates in the former Soviet Union founded Memorial in 1987. Among the founders were Svetlana Gannushkina, a human rights activist, and Nobel Peace Prize winner Andrei Sakharov. The foundation of Memorial is the idea that acknowledging past misdeeds is crucial to stopping them from happening again.

The Memorial grew to become the largest human rights organisation after the fall of the Soviet Union. In addition to becoming a repository for records on victims of the Stalinist era, Memorial collected and organised data on political repression and abuses of human rights in Russia. The memorial became the most reliable source of information about political prisoners held in Russian prisons. The organisation has also been at the vanguard of initiatives to counter militarism, advance human rights, and support the rule of law-based governments.

Civil society actors have been subjected to threats, disapperance, and murder for many years.

The Memorial was labelled as a "foreign agent" from the beginning as part of the government's harassment campaign against it. The decision to forcibly liquidate Memorial and permanently close the documentation centre was made by the authorities in December 2021. In the months that followed, the closures went into force, but Memorial's operators refused to shut down. Chairman Yan Rachinsky commented on the forced dissolution, saying, "Nobody plans to give up."


Center for Civil Liberties

The Center for Civil Liberties was established in Kyiv in 2007 with the goal of promoting democracy and human rights in Ukraine. The center has vowed to support Ukrainian civil society and put pressure on the government to turn Ukraine into a functioning democracy. The Center for Civil Liberties has aggressively promoted Ukraine's membership in the International Criminal Court in order to help Ukraine become a state with a strong legal system.

In the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Center for Civil Liberties has been working to discover and document Russian war crimes against the civilian population of Ukraine. The center is taking a leading position in partnership with international partners to hold those responsible for the crimes accountable.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to honour three exceptional defenders of human rights, democracy, and peaceful coexistence in the neighbouring countries of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine by presenting the Nobel Peace Prize for 2022 to Ales Bialiatski, Russian Group Memorial, and the Center for Civil Liberties.

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