(Stockholm, 7 October 2022) SIPRI congratulates Ales Bialiatski, Memorial and the Center for Civil Liberties on the award of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, to honour ‘three outstanding champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful co-existence in the neighbour countries Belarus, Russia and Ukraine’. ‘By awarding the Nobel Peace Prize to these three, the Nobel Committee is sending a message that human rights, civil liberties and an active civil society are an integral part of peace. This is impossible to argue with,’ said SIPRI Director Dan Smith.
‘Like last year’s prize, which was awarded to champions of media freedom, the Committee is once again emphasizing human rights and civil liberties,’ said Smith. ‘In addition, this year’s award is also clearly focused on the Ukraine war.’
‘Ales Bialiatski is a veteran of the struggle for freedom in Belarus. Unfortunately, he remains incarcerated. The award will hopefully be a morale boost to him and to those around him. By putting him in the spotlight, it means that he does not become just one more forgotten political prisoner,’ said Smith.
‘It is significant that in Ukraine the prize was awarded to a civil society organization, and one that dares to criticize the Ukrainian government. One thing I particularly admire about the Center for Civil Liberties is its work against corruption, which it rightly sees as central to the protection of civil liberties and political freedom,’ said Smith.
‘Finally, I am glad to see the recognition for Memorial. I have admired Memorial’s work since the days when it was reporting the truth about the Chechen War to Russians,’ said Smith.
‘Memorial was born in the dying years of the Soviet Union, and flourished for a time. Its closure earlier this year speaks volumes about the current political situation in Russia. The prize should encourage the organization’s international branches, who still operate, and those brave activists within Russia who carry on Memorial’s work,’ he added.
‘The award to Memorial, and indeed to the other 2022 laureates, underlines that facts matter, history matters. That is so important in today’s political climate.’