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Ukrainian, Russian human rights activist groups awarded Nobel Peace Prize

FILE – A Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 file photo of a Nobel medal displayed during a ceremony in New York. (Angela Weiss/Pool Photo via AP, File)

The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on Friday to human rights groups from Ukraine and Russia as well as human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus.

Russian human rights organization Memorial and Ukrainian organization Center for Civil Liberties were both awarded the prize, with the Nobel Foundation writing that they “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,” the foundation wrote of Bialiatski and the two organizations.

“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.”

Bialiatski, who is currently detained without trial in Belarus for his human rights work, founded the organization Viasna in 1996 to advocate for political prisoners in the country bordered by Russia and Ukraine.

The activist was arrested after demonstrating against the Belarusian government in 2020 and had previously been imprisoned from 2011 to 2014.

“Despite tremendous personal hardship, Mr Bialiatski has not yielded an inch in his fight for human rights and democracy in Belarus,” the Nobel Foundation wrote.

Russian human rights group Memorial, which dates back to 1987, was forcibly dissolved by the Russian government in December after being accused of violating state law concerning foreign agents.

However, Memorial has continued its work collecting and disseminating information about political repression in Russia.

The organization’s most recent list of prisoners of conscience and political prisoners was released in November 2021 and included the names of 377 people detained in the country.

The Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties “has taken a stand to strengthen Ukrainian civil society and pressure the authorities to make Ukraine a full-fledged democracy,” according to the Nobel Foundation.

The center was awarded the peace prize especially in view of its work surrounding Russia’s invasion of its home country in February, focused on documenting war crimes against Ukrainian civilians.

Tags Humanitarian aid Nobel Peace Prize Russia Ukraine

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