Who is Ales Bialiatski and what do the Russian and Ukrainian entities that won the Nobel Peace Prize | World

He is dedicated to promoting democracy and peaceful development in Belarus, he was one of the founders of the democratic movement that emerged in the country in the mid-1980s. In 1996, he founded the organization Viasna in response to the controversial constitutional amendments that gave the president dictatorial powers and which triggered widespread demonstrations.

Belarusian Ales Bialiatski, winner of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize. — Photo: Reuters

Viasna provided support to imprisoned protesters and their families, and over the next few years it evolved into a broad human rights organization that fought the torture of political prisoners.

The activist was arrested from 2011 to 2014. In 2020, after the demonstrations against the regime, he was arrested again and remains in detention without trial.

The award, announced on Friday (7), was also given to two entities: the Russian international organization for human rights “Memorial” and the Ukrainian organization “Centre for Civil Liberties”.

According to the organizers, the winners “represent civil society in their countries of origin.”

“The Nobel Prize committee wanted to honor three champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful co-existence in neighboring Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. They honor Alfred Nobel’s vision of peace and coexistence, a vision so needed in the world today “, declared the committee.

The human rights organization Memorial was created in 1987 by human rights activists in the former Soviet Union who wanted to ensure that victims of oppression by the communist regime were never forgotten. Andrei Sakharov, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975, and human rights defender Svetlana Gannushkina are some of the founders.

In addition to establishing a documentation center on victims of the Stalinist era, Memorial compiled and systematized information on political oppression and human rights violations in Russia.

The organization has become the most reliable source of information about political prisoners in Russian detention centers. The organization has also been at the forefront of efforts to combat militarism and promote human rights and rule of law rule.

After the end of the Soviet Union, Memorial grew to become the largest human rights organization in Russia.

During the Chechen wars, the organization gathered and verified information about abuses and war crimes against the civilian population by Russian and pro-Russian forces. In 2009, the head of the Memorial’s branch in the country, Natalia Estemirova, was killed because of this work.

Memorial is based on the notion that addressing past crimes is essential to preventing new crimes.

Center for Civil Liberties

The Center for Civil Liberties was founded in Kiev in 2007 with the aim of promoting human rights and democracy in Ukraine. The center took a stand to strengthen Ukrainian civil society and put pressure on the authorities to make the country a full-fledged democracy. To transform Ukraine into a state governed by the rule of law, the Center for Civil Liberties has actively advocated for Ukraine to join the International Criminal Court.

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the entity worked to identify and document Russian war crimes against the Ukrainian civilian population. In collaboration with international partners, the center plays a pioneering role in holding the culprits accountable for their crimes.

According to the organization’s website, the core staff of the Center for Civil Liberties is almost entirely composed of women.

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