This year’s Nobel Peace Prize 2022 laureates are human rights defenders: the Ukrainian Centre for Civil Liberties, Belarusian human rights defender and founder of the human rights organisation Viasna, recognised as an extremist organisation in Belarus, and the Russian human rights centre Memorial, liquidated in Russia.

The Ukrainian Centre for Civil Liberties was founded in 2007. The main objectives of the Centre are protection of human rights and the establishment of democracy in Ukraine. The Centre for Civil Liberties plays an important role in the development and strengthening of civil society in Ukraine and protection of human rights. It is one of the leading actors in Ukraine influencing public opinion and public policy, supporting the development of civic activism and taking an active part in international networks and solidarity actions to promote human rights in the OSCE region.

The Russian human rights centre Memorial was founded in 1987 by concerned citizens. In this way, the founders of Memorial wanted to commemorate the victims of political repression during the Soviet era. Andrei Sakharov, an academician and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, was the first chairman of the board of Memorial. Members of the centre collected signatures for a memorial complex to victims of repression, participated in demonstrations, and held seminars on the subject of state terror. In winter 2022, Memorial was liquidated by decision of the Russian Supreme Court.

Ales Bialiatski is one of the initiators of the democratic movement that emerged in Belarus in the 1980s. In 1996, he founded the Belarusian human rights centre Viasna in response to mass violations of the rights of peaceful protesters and dubious changes to the Belarusian constitution that gave dictatorial powers to the president. Today Viasna is the leading human rights organisation in Belarus. It has dozens of human rights activists and volunteers. For 26 years now, Viasna has been defending and promoting human rights, exposing and monitoring human rights violations.

Ales Bialiatski dedicated his entire life to fighting for democracy and peace in Belarus. He was detained on July 14, 2021 and remains a hostage of the Belarusian regime to this day. Together with him, six more Viasna human rights defenders are political prisoners who are currently behind bars. Viasna is banned in Belarus, but the centre continues its work in exile.

His wife Natalia Pinchuk shared her emotions with the blog “Ludi” (People) today: “This news caught me in absolute confusion! Of course, I have a feeling of great pride, a very wide range of emotions. This is his reward and his associates’ hard, dangerous work. And I am very grateful to all involved”.

Ales Bialiatski is the voice of the 1300 Belarusian political prisoners held in penal colonies and prisons today!

To congratulate Ales Bialiatski on the Nobel Prize, please write him a letter: Pre-trial Detention Centre No. 1, ul. Volodarskogo 2, 220030 Minsk, Belarus.