Human rights groups from Russia and Ukraine — Memorial and the Center for Civil Liberties — won the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, along with the jailed Belarusian advocate Ales Bialiatski.
The laureates were honored for “an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human rights abuses and the abuse of power” in their respective countries.
They have for many years promoted the right to criticize power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said.
The Ukrainian group, Center for Civil Liberties, “engaged in efforts to identify and document Russian war crimes against the Ukrainian civilian population” since the invasion was launched in February last year, the committee said.
Memorial was founded in 1987 and, after the fall of the Soviet Union, became one of Russia’s most prominent human rights watchdogs. It has worked to expose the abuses and atrocities of the Stalinist era.
The group was shut down by Russian courts in the past year, in a major blow to the country’s hollowed-out civil rights landscape.
Bialiatski, meanwhile, has documented human rights abuses in Belarus since the 1980s. He founded the organization Viasna, or Spring, in 1996 after a referendum that consolidated the authoritarian powers of president and close Russian ally, Alexander Lukashenko.
The activist was arrested in 2020 amid widespread protests against Lukashenko’s regime, and was awarded the prize while in prison. In March this year, he was sentenced by a court in Minsk to 10 years in a maximum-security penal colony.