Nobel Peace Prize 2022

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One individual and two organizations have won the Nobel Peace Prize 2022. 

The Norwegian Nobel Committee declared the awards on October 7, 2022. 

The laureates have represented civil society in their home countries over the years. They have been elemental in protecting the fundamental rights of citizens and continue to promote the right to question power. They have consistently documented war crimes, human right abuses and the abuse of power. They highlight the importance of civil society for peace and democracy.

Human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski, the Russian human rights organization Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties are the joint winners of the Nobel Peace Prize 2022. 

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Ales Bialiatski dedicated his life to promoting democracy in Belarus. He was one of the initiators of the democracy movement which emerged in the country in the mid-1980s. He is the founder of the organization Viasna (Spring). The organization was formed in 1996 in response to the controversial constitutional amendments which gave the country’s president dictatorial powers. It supported jail demonstrators and their families. Over the years, Viasna developed into a human rights organization which protested against the use of torture against political prisoners.

Authorities tried to silence Ales Bialiatski many times. He was in jail from 2011 to 2014. He was arrested again in the year 2020 after several demonstrations against the authoritarian regime.  Bialiatski continues to be under official custody. Despite all the hardships, he continues to valiantly fight for human rights and democracy in Belarus. 

Human right activists in the former soviet union wanted to make sure that victims of communist regime’s oppression are never forgotten.  Hence they established the human rights organization Memorial in 1987. The founders of the memorial include Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov and human rights advocate Svetlana Gannushkina. Memorial signifies the importance of confronting past crimes for preventing new ones. 

Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the memorial went on to become the largest human rights organization in Russia. It compiled information on political oppression and human rights violations in the country. A center of documentation on the victims of the Stalinist era was established as well. The memorial provided information on political prisoners in Russian detention facilities. The organization has worked hard to combat militarism. It promotes human rights and has been an ambassador for the government based on rule of law.

Autocracy and dictatorship will eventually destroy the peace of a nation. The memorial documented war crimes and abuses on common people by the Russian and pro-Russian forces during the Chechen wars. Natalia Estemirova, the head of the memorial’s branch in Chechnya, was killed in 2009 for similar works. 

Civil society actors have always been subjected to threats in the country of Russia. Imprisonment, murder and disappearence of such people have been happening for years. The Russian government has always come hard on the memorial, they have even called it a “foreign agent”. The authorities decided to close the documentation center permanently, and also said the memorial was going to be forcibly liquidated in December 2021. But the people associated with the memorial have no plans of shutting it down. “Nobody plans to give up,”  said Yan Raschinsky, the chairman of the memorial. 

For the purpose of promoting human rights and democracy in Ukraine, the Center for Civil Liberties was founded in Kyiv in the year 2007. The center aims at strengthening the Ukrainian civil society and is constantly putting pressure on authorities for making Ukraine a full-fledged democracy. It has always pushed Ukraine for becoming affiliated with the International Criminal Court, the center strongly believes this will help Ukraine to develop into a state governed by rule of law. 

In February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. Ever since then, the Center for Civil Liberties has been engaged in identifying and documenting Russian war crimes against the Ukrainian civilian population. With international support, the center is working to punish the culprits.

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2022 is awarded to Ales Bialiatski, Memorial and the Center for Civil Liberties for being champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful co-existence in the countries of Belarus, Russia and Ukraine respectively. They have been wonderful ambassadors for humanist values, anti-militarism and principles of law. Most importantly they have worked for promoting peace and fraternity between nations – a vision which is the need of the hour!

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  Answer) Human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski, the Russian human rights organization Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties are the joint winners of the Nobel Peace Prize 2022. 

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