Nobel Peace Prize winners praised for ‘excellent courage’ | War news between Russia and Ukraine

Reactions are pouring in after human rights lawyers Ales Bialiatski of Belarus, the Russian Memorial group and the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022.

The highly symbolic choice of laureates from three countries at the center of the war in Ukraine was usually greeted with praise, but Belarus and a high-ranking Ukrainian presidential aide criticized the choice of winners.

European Union

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen praised the “excellent courage” of Ukrainian, Russian and Belarusian human rights activists.

“The Nobel Prize Committee has recognized the extraordinary courage of the women and men who oppose autocracy. They show the true power of civil society in the fight for democracy,” von der Leyen said on Twitter.

United Nations

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres congratulated the winners, saying that civil society organizations were “the oxygen of democracy and catalysts for peace, social progress and economic growth”.

“They help hold governments accountable and carry the voices of the vulnerable into the halls of power,” he added, calling on the world to support “the brave defenders of universal values ​​of peace, hope and dignity for all” in the light of increasing attacks.

France

President Emmanuel Macron praised the Belarusian, Ukrainian and Russian winners as “steadfast defenders of human rights in Europe”.

“As peacemakers, they can count on the support of France,” he wrote on Twitter.

Germany

The federal government in Berlin emphasized the “exceptional” commitment of the three groups to democratic development, human rights and civil liberties.

“They have resisted oppression and actions against peaceful forces in civil society as we are witnessing especially in Russia and Belarus.”

Ukraine

A senior aide to President Volodymyr Zelenskyy expressed his irritation that the prize was shared with organizations from countries affiliated to Ukraine: Russia and Belarus.

“The Nobel Committee has an interesting understanding of the word ‘peace’ when representatives of two countries that attacked a third country receive the Nobel Prize together,” presidential adviser Mykhaylo Podolyak said on Twitter.

Belarus

Belarus denounced the Nobel Committee for handing the prestigious peace prize to imprisoned activist Ales Bialiatski, saying its founder Alfred Nobel was “turning in his grave”.

“In recent years, some fundamental decisions of the Nobel Committee have been so politicized that, excuse me, Alfred Nobel is tormented and turning in his grave,” State Department spokesman Anatoly Glaz said on Twitter.

Belarus opposition

Exiled opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya paid tribute to Ales Bialiatski, noting that he celebrated his 60th birthday in prison on September 25, as was his 50th.

“His story is the story of our country – a decades-long struggle for freedom. I am incredibly proud that he has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize!” she wrote on Twitter.

Amnesty International

Agnès Callamard, Secretary General of Amnesty International, said: “The Nobel Committee is sending an important message to the world – that it should support human rights defenders who have shown an extraordinary effort to document war crimes, human rights violations and abuses of power in their countries.

“This message is sent at a critical time when the ongoing Russian aggression has led to a human rights crisis of unbelievable proportions in Ukraine and the crackdown on any dissent in Russia and Belarus,” Callamard said.

“Amnesty International stands in solidarity with Ales Bialiatski, Memorial and the Center for Civil Liberties. All three are an inspiration and an example of courage and dedication to all those who work for human rights in Eastern Europe.”

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