Nobel Peace Prize jointly awarded to human rights advocates
Prominent Belarusian human rights activist, Ales Bialiatski, who is currently being held in prison without trial, has won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.
It was announced on Friday at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Norway’s capital, Oslo.
"The Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to honour three outstanding champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful co-existence in the neighbour countries Belarus, Russia and Ukraine," said Committee Chair Berit Reiss-Andersen, who has called on Belarus to release him from jail.
Reiss-Andersen added: "He has devoted his life to promoting democracy and peaceful development in his home country."
Bialiatski, 60, is the founder of the country's Viasna (Spring) Human Rights Centre. It was set up in 1996 against the crackdown of street protests by Belarus' authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko. They provided support for the jailed protestors and their families and documented the use of torture against political prisoners by the Belarus authorities.
Bialiatski, who has received several human rights awards, spent three years in jail on tax evasion charges in 2011 – which he has always denied. He was then detained in 2020 following protests over what opposition activists say were rigged elections that kept Lukashenko in power.
"Government authorities have repeatedly sought to silence Ales Bialiatski," Reiss-Andersen said.
"Despite tremendous personal hardship, Mr Bialiatski has not yielded an inch in his fight for human rights and democracy in Belarus," she added.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee said. "The Peace Prize 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 right abuses and the abuse of power. Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy."
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