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Nobel Peace Prize 2022: Belarus Activist, Russian Rights Group, Ukrainian NGO Declared Winners, Read All About Them

Nobel Peace Prize 2022: Belarus Activist, Russian Rights Group, Ukrainian NGO Declared Winners, Read All About Them

Belarus's rights activist Ales Bialiatski, Russian human rights organisation Memorial, and the Ukrainian NGO Center for Civil Liberties have been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize 2022.

Belarus's activist Ales Bialiatski, Russian group Memorial, Ukrainian NGO CLL won Nobel Peace Prize
Belarus's activist Ales Bialiatski, Russian group Memorial, Ukrainian NGO CLL won Nobel Peace Prize Twitter/The Nobel Prize

A Belarusian rights activists, a Ukrainian civil liberties NGO, and a Russian rights group have been declared as joint winners of 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee on Friday declared Belarusian activist Ales Bialiatski, Russian human rights organisation Memorial, and the Ukrainian NGO Center for Civil Liberties (CLL) as the winners of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize. 

The three of them have been awarded for "outstanding effort to document war crimes, human rights abuses, and abuse of power".

The Committee further said, "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...Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy."

Here we profile the three Nobel Peace Prize 2022:

Belarus's activist Ales Bialiatski

Ales Bialiatski is a leading Belarusian human rights activist. He is currently imprisoned without trial. 

Bialiatski was born on 25 September 1962 in Värtsilä in Soviet Union to Belarusian parents. 

Bialiatski is the founder of Belarus's Viasna (Spring) Human Rights Centre in response to a brutal crackdown of protests by the country's authoritarian leader Alexander Lukashenko, according to BBC.

Bialiatski is also accosiated with Belarus's writerly and journalistic scene. He is a member of bodies such as Union of Belarusian Writers (1995), the Belarusian Pen-Center, and the Belarusian Association of Journalists, according to a biography published by European Parliament.

Bialiatski and his organisation Värtsilä have been honoured with awards earlier as well. The biography lists the following awards: the Swedish Per Anger Prize, the Andrey Sakharov Freedom Award, the Homo Homini Prize, and the U.S. Atlantic Council's Freedom Award (for Viasna).

Russian organisation Memorial

The Memorial is one of the oldest civil rights organisations in Russia. 

The Memorial has been active since the days of Soviet Union, where it uncovered the abuses during the regime of Stalin and the victim of Gulgags, the labour camps in the Soviet Union. 

The Memorial was set up in 1987 and was led in initial years by led by Andrei Sakharov, himself a Nobel Peace Prize laureate. 

Besides documenting state repression, the Memorial also provides legal aid.

The BBC reported, "Memorial also investigated more recent human rights abuses in Russia and other post-Soviet countries. A centre for human rights was created as a separate arm of the organisation in 1991. It has been providing legal and other assistance to those considered to be political prisoners and their families."

The Memorial was shut down in 2021 at the orders of Russian Supreme Court. Prior to its shutdown, it was declared as a "foreign agent".

While Russian government's reasoning was that it was shut down for violating laws of the land, the Opposition said at the time that the Memorial "prompted the ire of the government by gathering information on millions killed by the state under Soviet dictator Josef Stalin", according to DW.

Ukrainian NGO Center for Civil Liberties

Ukrainian NGO Center for Civil Liberties (CLL) was set up in 2007 to promote human rights in Ukraine.

"The establishment of human rights, democracy, and solidarity in Ukraine and the OSCE region for the affirmation of human dignity," says CLL of its mission.

The OSCE stands for Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. It addresses issues such as "security-related concerns, including arms control, confidence- and security-building measures, human rights, national minorities, democratization, policing strategies, counter-terrorism and economic and environmental activities". 

In 2007, leaders of human rights organisations from nine former Soviet Union republics came together to form a cross-border resource support center in Kyiv. This is how the CCL was formed.

The CCL has since conducted workshops, led human rights missions in Belarus, and held international conferences. 

The CCL submitted to the International Criminal Court (ICC) with evidence of crimes against humanity committed by the Yanukovych regime during the Euromaidan 2013-2014, says CCL on its website. 

The CCL also launched the Kyiv School of Human Rights, which participated "in the development of the draft law and launch of an advocacy campaign for the harmonisation of the Ukrainian criminal code with international criminal law", as per the CCL website.

Nomination, selection for Nobel Peace Prize 

There were 343 nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize 2022, out of which 251 were individuals and 92 were organisations.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee selects the winners from amongst the nominees.

The following is the timeline and the process followed in the selection of the Nobel Peace Prize:

September: The Norwegian Nobel Committee prepares to receive nominations. 

February: February 1 is the deadline for submission of nominations. 

February-March: The Committee assesses the candidates’ work and prepares a short list.

March-August: The Committee advisors assess the nominees. 

"In addition to the Institute’s Director and Research Director, the body of advisers generally consists of a small group of Norwegian university professors with broad expertise in subject areas with a bearing on the Peace Prize...When the advisers’ reports have been presented, the Nobel Committee embarks on a thorough-going discussion of the most likely candidates," says the Nobel Prize website.

October: Nobel Prize laureates are declared

"The Nobel Committee chooses the Nobel Peace Prize laureates through a majority vote. The decision is final and without appeal. The names of the Nobel Peace Prize laureates are then announced," says the Nobel website. 

Speculation over leading nominees

Time magazine earlier this week reported a list of "favourites" for the Nobel Peace Prize winners. 

The Time's list included Ukrainian President Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny, Indian activist Harsh Mander, and Indian fact-checkers Pratik Sinha and Mohammed Zubair

Mander leads the initiative Karwan-e-Mohabbat since 2017 and Sinha and Zubair are associated with fact-checking website Alt News.

Though the Time reported the list, it was entirely speculative as the Nobel Peace Prize nominations are not made public for 50 years. 

"The statutes of the Nobel Foundation restrict disclosure of information about the nominations, whether publicly or privately, for 50 years," says the Nobel Prize website, adding that in case the information surfaces in the media, it is either "sheer guesswork" or supplied by the nominators. 

Even nominees are also not informed by the Committee that they are under consideration.

"The Committee does not itself announce the names of nominees, neither to the media nor to the candidates themselves. In so far as certain names crop up in the advance speculations as to who will be awarded any given year’s prize, this is either sheer guesswork or information put out by the person or persons behind the nomination. Information in the Nobel Committee’s nomination database is not made public until after 50 years," says the Nobel Peace Prize website.

None of the names reported by the Time were among the winners of the Nobel Peace Prize 2022.

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