December 9, 2023

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Belarusian human rights activist Ales Baliatsky, Russian human rights organization Memorial and Ukraine’s human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties have been awarded the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.

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Bilyatsky, 60, helped spark the democracy movement that began in Belarus in the 1980s. He has been in prison since 2021 on charges of tax evasion, widely believed to be politically motivated. He served his jail term from October 2011 to June 2014 on the same charge and has been arrested several times.

The Nobel Committee stated that he “dedicated his life to the promotion of democracy and peaceful development in his country.”

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The Center for Civil Liberties was established in 2007 to support Ukraine’s civil society, promote human rights and campaign for full democracy in the country.

“Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Center has been engaged in efforts to identify and document Russian war crimes against the Ukrainian population,” the committee said.

“The Center is playing a leading role in holding the guilty parties accountable for their crimes.”

The final recipient, the Russian rights group Memorial, was established in 1987 to honor victims of political persecution in the former Soviet Union.

At a press conference, Nobel Committee chairman Berit Rees-Andersen said the prize was “not addressed”. [Russian] President Putin … except that his government, as with the government in Belarus, is representing an authoritarian government that is repressing human rights activists.”

She also called for the release of Bilyatsky from prison.

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Bialiatski’s campaign group, Viasna, has documented and spoken out against the use of torture on political prisoners in Belarus.

Alexander Lukashenko has been the President of Belarus since 1994, when the country established a new constitution after the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Bilyatsky was arrested after widespread protests against Lukashenko’s regime in 2020 and 2021 were met with a violent crackdown and thousands of arrests.

Belarus is Russia’s only European ally after an unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, and has also faced Western sanctions.

The Nobel Peace Prize is one of six prizes awarded every year since 1901 by a five-member committee selected by the Parliament of Norway. It aims to recognize those who have “provided the greatest benefit to mankind.”

This is not the first time it has been awarded to multiple recipients. In 2021, the peace prize was split between Maria Russa, co-founder of the Philippine news site Rapper, and Dmitry Muratov, a Russian reporter. Both have worked to expose corruption and authoritarianism and have spoken out in defense of free speech.

This year the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to French author Anne Arnoux.

In Science, the Physics Prize for “Principals in Quantum Informatics” goes to Allen Aspect, John F. Klauser and Anton Zeilinger; The Prize for Chemistry goes to Carolyn R. for work in “click” chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry. Bertozzi, Morten Meldl and K. Provided to Barry Sharpless; And the drug prize was awarded to Svante Pabo for decoding the genome of the Neanderthal.

The economics award will be announced on Monday.

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