The Nobel Peace Prize was on October 7 awarded to human rights champions Ales Bialiatski of Belarus, Russia’s Memorial group, and Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties.
“They have made an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human right abuses and the abuse of power. Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy”, the head of the Norwegian Nobel committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, told reporters.
“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 Norwegian Nobel Committee said in its citation.
Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya said on October 7 that the decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to jailed rights defender Ales Bialiatski was “recognition for all Belarusians fighting for freedom and democracy.”
Bialiatski’s wife meanwhile said that she was “overwhelmed with emotions. I express my deep gratitude to the Nobel Committee and the international community for recognising the work of Ales, his colleagues and his organisation.”
The Russian group Memorial, through its Germany office, put out a statement: “We see (the) Prize as recognition of our human rights work and especially our colleagues in Russia who suffered and suffer unspeakable attacks and repression. (The) Prize strengthens our resolve to support our colleagues in Russia.”
Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties said on October 7 it was proud to win the Nobel Peace Prize. “Morning with good news. We are proud,” it wrote on Twitter.
Last year’s winners were journalists Maria Ressa and Dmitry Muratov, with previous laureates including Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama, Martin Luther King and the European Union.
A week of prizes
Annual prizes for achievements in physics, chemistry, medicine, peace, and literature were established in the will of Alfred Nobel, the Swedish inventor of dynamite, who died in 1896. The prize in economic sciences was added by Sweden’s central bank in 1968.
A week of Nobel Prize announcements kicked off on October 3 with the award in medicine honouring a scientist who unlocked the secrets of Neanderthal DNA. Three scientists jointly won the prize in physics on October 4 for showing that tiny particles can retain a connection with each other even when separated.
The prize for chemistry was awarded on October 5 to three scientists who developed ways of connecting molecules that can be used to design more targeted drugs. French author Annie Ernaux won this year’s Nobel Prize in literature on October 6.
The 2022 Nobel Prize for economics will be announced on October 10.