The 2022 prize was awarded to three winners – one person and two organisations. The winners were human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organisation Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organisation Center for Civil Liberties.
According to the awards committee: “This year’s laureates 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.
“They have made an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human rights abuses and the abuse of power.
“Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy.”
Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, who won this year’s prize, has been detained since 2020 without trial.
The awards committe said: “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”.
He founded the organisation Viasna in 1996, which has documented and protested against the authorities’ use of torture against political prisoners.
“Government authorities have repeatedly sought to silence Ales Bialiatski. Since 2020, he is still detained without trial despite tremendous personal hardship, Mr Bialiatski has not yielded an inch in his fight for human rights and democracy in Belarus”, the awards committee added.
Russian human rights organisation Memorial was one of the three winners for its efforts in combatting militarism and promoting human rights and a government based on rule of law.
Established in 1987, it is based on the notion that confronting past crimes is essential in preventing new ones. During the Chechen wars, Memorial gathered and verified information on abuses and war crimes perpetrated on the population by Russian and pro-Russian forces.
In 2009, the head of Memorial’s branch in Chechnya, Natalia Estemirova, was killed because of this work.
The third winner, unsurprisingly, was a Ukrainian group – The Center for Civil Liberties – which was founded for the purpose of advancing human rights and democracy in Ukraine.
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