PRIO congratulates the winners of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize – Peace Research Institute Oslo
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize to human rights defender Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organization Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties.
“[The Peace Prize laureates] demonstrate the importance of civil society for peace and democracy,” said Berit Reiss Andersen, Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. PRIO director Henrik Urdal applauds the award. “I am extremely pleased with the selection of Nobel Committee laureates this year. This award will recognize local efforts to defend human rights and promote democracy, including documenting human rights abuses and war crimes. These reflect issues that I have also been careful to highlight in my own shortlist of deserving candidates,” Urdal says.
Ales Bialiatski is a Belarusian civilian leader, who led a non-violent, non-partisan campaign for nearly 30 years for democracy and freedom. Bialiatski founded the human rights organization “Viasna” (Spring) in 1996 in response to controversial constitutional amendments that gave the president dictatorial powers and sparked widespread protests. The organization first provided support to political prisoners and has since become Belarus’ main non-governmental organization contributing to the development of civil society in the country by documenting human rights violations and monitoring elections. Bialiatiski has been imprisoned since July 2021 on alleged tax evasion, charges that human rights advocates say are politically motivated.
The human rights organization, “Memorial”, was founded in the late 1980s with a mission to preserve the truth and history of the mass political repressions in the Soviet Union under Stalin. Today, it is a Russian-based umbrella organization that highlights human rights abuses, promotes the democratic rule of law and affirms the right to political freedom. Memorial was mentioned on director Henrik Urdal’s shortlist in 2020 and on former director Kristian Berg Harpviken’s shortlist in 2016.
The Center for Civil Liberties (CCL) is a Ukrainian civil society organization established in Kyiv in 2007 with a mission to promote the values of human rights, democracy and solidarity in Ukraine and the Ukraine region. OSCE. The CCL is a leading player in Ukraine in influencing public opinion and public policies, supporting the strengthening of civic activism and promoting human rights. Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, CCL has worked to identify and document Russian war crimes against the Ukrainian civilian population.
Bialiatski, Memorial and CCL have all previously received the Right Livelihood Award (in 2020, 2004 and 2022, respectively), also known as the “Alternative Nobel Prize”.
“Research by PRIO and others has repeatedly shown the importance of a strong civil society to building democracy and therefore to avoiding and resolving conflict, and I am pleased to see this reflected in the award for this year,” Urdal said.