The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize Winners

By Alisa Strom—Correspondent

When Alfred Nobel’s will was first read, his wish to found the Nobel Prize was quite a surprise. Today, the award has become a yearly event.

One of the categories of the renowned Nobel Prize is the peace category. Some famous people who have won the award are Martin Luther King Jr. and Malala Yousafzai. This October, 3 laureates won the prize for their work on human rights—the Center for Civil Liberties, Ales Bialiatski, and Memorial.

Oleksandra Matviychuk, the Head of the Board of the Center for Civil Liberties emphasizes the importance of human rights. “Human rights is the same important issue of the security as military defense or economical stability,” she says. 

The Nobel Prize official website talks about the history of the organization. “The Center for Civil Liberties was founded in Kyiv in 2007 for the purpose of advancing human rights and democracy in Ukraine… After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, Center for Civil Liberties has engaged in efforts to identify and document Russian war crimes against the Ukrainian civilian population,” they say. 

The 2nd winner, Bialiatski is also written about on the The Nobel Prize official website for the efforts he made for the citizens of Belarus. “A constitutional amendment adopted in 1996 gave President Alexander Lukashenko dictatorial powers, triggering protests and demonstrations… Bialiatski then founded the organization Viasna (Spring) to provide support for the incarcerated demonstrators and their families. In the years that followed, Viasna evolved into a human rights organisation that documented the authorities’ abuses against and torture of political prisoners,” says the website. 

Bialitski was unfairly jailed. Andrey Yurov is also a human rights activist, who was asked in an interview about the impact of Bialiatski’s imprisonment. “The situation with Ales Bialiatski proves that there is no right for freedom of association in Belarus. The case is evidence that there is no free trial and no standards of rights are being observed in the country,” said Yurov.

The final winner is Memorial. The Nobel Prize official website emphasizes the extensive duration of Memorial’s work. “The organization documented the victims of the crimes committed during the Stalinist era. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the organization continued this work while also focusing on human rights violations in Russia,” they say.

In 2021, Memorial was ordered to be liquidated by the Russian Supreme Court, and in 2022,  was declared illegal by the authorities. These actions have prompted Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Director to certify the impact this decision has.“The closure of International Memorial represents a direct assault on the rights to freedom of expression and association,” said Struthers.

With Bialiatski being jailed and Memorial closing down, it is easy to lose faith. However, Matviychuk gave a surprising answer when asked about what gives her hope. “Ordinary people… I see and feel the huge wave of solidarity among the people in Ukraine and abroad. And ordinary people start to do unordinary things,” she says. 

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