People & Culture

Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Ales Bialiatski and two organisations

The Nobel Peace Prize this year has been awarded to human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organisation Memorial, and the Ukrainian human rights organisation Center for Civil Liberties.

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.

The Committee lauded their respective “outstanding effort to document war crimes, human rights violations and the abuse of power”.

“Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy.”

The winners were announced on Friday at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo, by Committee Chair Berit Reiss-Andersen.

Ales Bialiatski was one of the initiators of the democracy movement that emerged in Belarus in the mid-1980s. He has “devoted his life to promoting democracy and peaceful development in his home country”.

The human rights organisation Memorial was established in 1987 by human rights activists in the former Soviet Union, for oppressed victims under the regime.

The Center for Civil Liberties was founded for the purpose of advancing human rights and democracy in Ukraine. It has taken a stand to strengthen Ukrainian civil society and pressure the authorities to make Ukraine a full-fledged democracy.

Thousands of people around the world are eligible to nominate candidates for the prize before the January 31 deadline, including members of parliament and cabinet ministers from all countries, former laureates and some university professors. This led to a total of 343 top-secret nominations this year.

The Nobel committee members are also free to submit their own choices during their first meeting — this year held shortly after the start of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on February 24.

Last year, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to two champions of press freedom — Maria Ressa of the Philippines, whose news outlet was under threat of being shut down, and Russia’s Dmitry Muratov, whose media organisation has had its licence revoked.

These laureates have faced a tough time since receiving the prize, as they continue to fight for the survival of their news organisations, defying government efforts to silence them.

A week of Nobel Prize announcements kicked off on Monday with Swedish scientist Svante Pääbo receiving the award in medicine on Monday, for unlocking secrets of Neanderthal DNA that provided key insights into our immune system. This was followed by prizes for Physics, Chemistry, Literature, and today’s Peace Prize.

The awards conclude with the announcement of the Economics prize on Monday, October 10.


Khaleej Times
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