On Friday, Ales Bialiatski, a human rights activist from Belarus, wins the Nobel Peace Prize 2022. Along with him Russian human rights organisation Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organisation Center for Civil Liberties, also win this year’s Nobel Peace Prize. Ales Bialiatski is currently being held in prison.
Following the announcement, Ales’s wife Natallia Pinchuk also spoke to the media, expressing her gratitude. “I express my deep gratitude to the Nobel committee and the international community for recognising the work of Ales, his colleagues and his organisation,” she was quoted by AFP.
Ales has been the flag-bearer of the democracy movement in Belarus since 1980s. As a promotor of democracy and development in Belarus, he founded an organisation called Viasna (Spring), in 1996. As the years progressed, his focused evolved into broad-spectrum of human rights abuse where he worked with organisations that protested against torture of political prisoners.
In 2021, the Nobel peace prize was awarded to Russia’s Dmitry Muratov and Philippines’s Maria Ressa, two journalists, that made “efforts to safeguard freedom of expression”.
This year’s Nobel Prize announcements started earlier on Monday with Sweden’s Svante Paabo receiving the Nobel Prize in the field of medicine. On Thursday, French author Annie Ernaux was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature, making her the 17th woman to win the award.
The Facts of the Matter
Amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and the toll of loss and deaths continue to rise, a Ukrainian human rights organisation won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2022. On Friday, Ukrainian organisation ‘Center for Civil Liberties’ and Russian human rights organisation ‘Memorial’, won the Nobel Peace Prize 2022. Along with the organisations, human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus also won the prize.
Who is Ales Bialiatski?
On its website, the The Nobel Foundation wrote, “Ales Bialiatski was one of the initiators of the democracy movement that emerged in Belarus in the mid-1980s. He has devoted his life to promoting democracy and peaceful development in his home country.”
Setting Up Viasana
It further mentioned that Ales founded a human rights organisationViasna in 1996. The organisation was formed in response to the Belarusian government’s controversial amendments that gave president dictatorial powers. The organisation was the catalyst in triggering widespread demonstrations and it also helped the families of jailed demonstrators with support.
Because of his wide-spread demonstrations against the Belarus regime in 2020, Ales was arrested without trial, and continues to be imprisoned. He was also imprisoned back in 2011 and was released in 2014.
Ales worked as a school teacher in Belarus, and prior to that, he was a USSR Army armoured vehicle driver.
“Deep gratitude”: Ales Bialiatski’s Wife
An AFP report quoted Ales’s wife expressing her gratitude and saying, “I express my deep gratitude to the Nobel committee and the international community for recognising the work of Ales, his colleagues and his organisation.”
Nobel Winner ‘Memorial’ – A Russian Human Rights Organisation
Memorial, grew into one of the largest human rights organisation in Russia, after the fall of the Soviet Union. The organisation focused on establishing a centre where the victims of the Soviet era would be documented. The human rights organisation also compiled systematized information on human rights violations in Russia across the years.
Nobel Winner ‘Center for Civil Liberties’ – A Ukranian Human Rights Organisation
After Russia initiated its invasion of Ukraine earlier this year in February, the Centre for Civil Liberties focused in creating a system where Russian war crimes against Ukrainian civilians would be identified and documented. The organisation has multiple international partners, and is leading the pack to hold the guilty responsible for their atrocities.