Nobel Peace Prize goes to activists from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine

OSLO, Norway (AP) — This year’s Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to jailed Belarus rights activist Ales Bialiatski, the Russian group Memorial and the Ukrainian organization Center for Civil Liberties, a strong rebuke to Russia’s President Vladimir Putin on his 70th birthday.

Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said the panel wanted to honor “three outstanding champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence in the neighbor countries Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.”

“Through their consistent efforts in favor of human values and anti-militarism and principles of law, this year’s laureates have revitalized and honored Alfred Nobel’s vision of peace and fraternity between nations, a vision most needed in the world today,” she told reporters in Oslo.

Bialiatski was one of the leaders of the democracy movement in Belarus in the mid 1980s and has continued to campaign for human rights and civil liberties in the authoritarian country. He founded the non-governmental organization Human Rights Center Viasna and won the Right Livelihood Award, sometimes referred to as the “Alternative Nobel,” in 2020.

Bialiatski was detained following anti-government protests that year and remains in jail without trial.

<p>FILE - Russian human rights activist and the Chairwoman of the Civic Assistance Committee Svetlana Gannushkina speaks to journalists in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Aug. 27, 2021. Gannuskhina is a member of the council of Russian human rights organisation Memorial, one of the two organizations awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize.</p>

AP file

FILE - Russian human rights activist and the Chairwoman of the Civic Assistance Committee Svetlana Gannushkina speaks to journalists in Moscow, Russia, Friday, Aug. 27, 2021. Gannuskhina is a member of the council of Russian human rights organisation Memorial, one of the two organizations awarded with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Memorial was founded in the Soviet Union in 1987 to ensure the victims of communist repression would be remembered. It has continued to compile information on human rights abuses in Russia and tracked the fate of political prisoners in the country.

The Center for Civil Liberties was founded in 2007 to promote human rights and democracy in Ukraine during a period of turmoil in the country.

“The center has taken a stand to strengthen Ukrainian civil society and pressure the authorities to make Ukraine a full fledged democracy, to develop Ukraine into a state governed by rule of law,” said Reiss-Andersen. Read the full story here:

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