Belarus, Russia, Ukraine rights activists win Nobel Peace Prize

Jailed human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organization Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights group Center for Civil Liberties have won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to document human rights abuses.

The announcement was made on Friday at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Norway’s capital, Oslo.

“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,” said Committee Chair Berit Reiss-Andersen, who also called on Belarus to release Byalyatski from prison.

The Nobel Peace Prize, worth 10 million Swedish crowns, or about $900,000, will be presented in Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the award in his 1895 will.

“The Peace Prize laureates represent civil society in their home countries. They have for many years promoted the right to criticize power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in its citation.

“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.”

‘Very powerful message’

Kristian Herbolzheimer, the director of the International Catalan Institute for Peace, told Al Jazeera from Brussels that the prize highlighted “the fraternity between these three countries who are facing similar challenges and situations”.

“But beyond that the committee has awarded the relevance of civil society and that goes beyond these three countries. There is a shrinking space for critical voices inside countries all over the world, no matter if they are autocracies or democracies,” he said. “Therefore this sends a very powerful message.”

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