10 October 2022
Russian human rights organization Memorial is among three laureates of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize. The Pax Christi International partner and winner of our own peace award in 2013 joins Ales Bialiatski and the Ukrainian Centre for Civil Liberties as honourees. The choices shine a spotlight on human rights defenders, activists, and the promotion of nonviolence in the ongoing conflict in the Belarus-Russia-Ukraine region.
The Nobel committee remarked that the laureates have worked for years to “protect the fundamental rights of citizens” in the home countries and have criticized authoritarian power, documented human rights abuses, and exemplified the need for strong civil society for peace and democracy.
- Ales Bialiatski has been a pro-democracy leader in Belarus for nearly 40 years. He has committed his life to the promotion of democracy within the authoritarian state.
- Memorial was founded near the end of the Cold War by activists who sought to preserve the memory of the victims of the communist regime.
- The Centre for Civil Liberties was founded in 2007 but has broad impact throughout Ukraine. Their missing was to transform their country into a full-fledged democracy. Following the Russian invasion in 2022, the centre has worked intensively to document Russian war crimes.
Pax Christi International applauds this decision and its acknowledgement of the role of civil society in the promotion of peace and democracy. We honour the courage each of the laurates have shown in standing up for human rights in dangerous political climates. We have supported Memorial through advocacy action as it faced dissolution by the Russian courts. This included collaboration with other international non-governmental organizations at the Council of Europe, where Russia was a member until it was suspended in 2022 for invading Ukraine.
To learn more about Pax Christi International and our advocacy efforts to defend Memorial, please click here.
The Nobel prizes were founded by the will of Alfred Nobel, including a peace prize for “a person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses.” For more information about the prize and the 2022 laureates, please click here.
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