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Civic Solidarity Platform Statement on the award of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize to three members of the Platform

26 October 2022

The members of the international Civiс Solidarity Platform welcome the awarding of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize to three active members of our coalition – the Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine), “Memorial” (Russia) and Ales Bialiatsky, founder and chairman of the Human Rights Center “Vyasna” (Belarus). We sincerely congratulate our laureates on the well-deserved recognition of their achievements.

For many years, the activities of the Center for Civil Liberties, “Memorial” and Ales Bialiatsky, together with his colleagues in the Viasna human rights center, have been aimed at promoting democratic values, asserting justice and protecting human rights.

The courage and dedication of this year’s laureates, who continue their many years work in the face of severe repression in Belarus and Russia and the aggressive war against Ukraine carried out by the Putin regime with the complicity of the Lukashenko regime, demonstrated the readiness of human rights defenders against all odds resist attempts to illegally restrict the activities of civil society.

This award is a recognition of many years of tireless and selfless work of the Nobel Prize winners and their service to the rule of law and the ideals of freedom. Our friends and colleagues are an inspiration to us and thousands of others around the world.

We wish our dear partners new achievements in the struggle for democracy, the rule of law and human rights and in our common work to bring to justice all those responsible for human rights violations, crimes of aggression, war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Ukraine.

The international Civiс Solidarity Platform condemns in the strongest possible terms the actions of the Russian and Belarusian authorities regarding the systematic pressure on human rights defenders, civil activists and non-governmental organizations.

The Putin and Lukashenko authoritarian regimes use the persecution of human rights defenders and the illegal restriction of the activities of civil organizations as one of the key tools to destroy public control over the actions of the authorities and public support for people affected by political repression and massive human rights violations. These regimes have created a climate of fear and persecute anyone who upholds the values of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The liquidation of one of the oldest human rights organizations in Russia, Memorial, as well as hundreds of non-governmental organizations in Belarus, including the Viasna human rights center, testifies to the existential threat to the survival of civil society in both countries.

After the start of large-scale military aggression against Ukraine in February this year, the scale of political repression in Russia and Belarus has increased significantly. The number of people detained for taking part in peaceful anti-war actions or for otherwise showing solidarity with Ukraine is measured in thousands. Hundreds of people were subjected to administrative or criminal prosecution for expressing their anti-war position. According to Memorial, there are at least 500 political prisoners in Russia today. According to Belarusian human rights organizations, more than 1,300 political prisoners are in Belarusian prisons. Also thousands of civilians illegally detained and taken to Russia from the territory of Ukraine are the hostages of the Kremlin. The vast majority of them are subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment, beatings and torture. The tightening of political repressions in Russia and Belarus during the criminal military aggression against Ukraine further confirms the importance of the work of human rights defenders and the need for their support and protection.

Human rights defenders and non-governmental organizations in Ukraine are facing unprecedented challenges as a result of criminal military aggression against their country and massive war crimes in the course of this aggression. Ukrainian human rights activists have been tasked with documenting thousands of war crimes and crimes against humanity, helping millions of victims, working to inform the world community about what is happening in Ukraine, and taking action to ensure justice and bring those responsible to justice. This selfless work requires recognition and support.

We call to the leaders of democratic countries and international organizations to:

1) Take new effective measures of influence on the Russian and Belarus authorities  for the systematic use of repressive measures against human rights defenders, civil society activists, non-governmental organizations, journalists and for violating the rights of people who peacefully and legally express their anti-war and human rights positions, and demand that they immediately cancel illegal decisions to liquidate Memorial, Viasna and other non-governmental organizations;

2) Demand the immediate release from custody of Ales Bialiatski and all Russian and Belarusian political prisoners;

3)  Call to stop the practice of harassment and arrests of human rights defenders and civil activists;

4) Demand immediate access by lawyers and international humanitarian organizations to civilians from Ukraine illegally detained and held in Russia. Increase pressure on the Russian authorities with a view to the immediate and unconditional release of all civilians illegally detained in Russia from Ukraine and to create conditions for their safe return to Ukraine as soon as possible.

List of organizations supporting the statement:

  1. Center for Civil Liberties

  2. Norwegian Helsinki Committee

  3. Swiss Helsinki Committee

  4. Helsinki Association for Human Rights Armenia

  5. Turkmenistan Helsinki Foundation

  6. Belarusian Helsinki Committee

  7. Belarusian Human Rights House

  8. Netherlands Helsinki Committee

  9. Austrian Helsinki Association

  10. Public Association “Dignity”

  11. Swedish OSCE-network

  12. Public organization “Dawn”

  13. Public Verdict

  14. Promo LEX

  15. Austausch e.V. (formerly DRA)

  16. Human Rights Center of Azerbaijan

  17. Moscow Helsinki Group

  18. Crude Accountability

  19. Human Rights Center (HRC)

  20. Kharkiv Regional Foundation “Public Alternative”

  21. Civic Assistance Committee

  22. Citizens Watch

  23. Freedom Files

  24. Human rights center “Viasna”

  25. United for Intercultural Action

  26. Swedish OSCE-network supports

  27. Human Rights Monitoring Institute

  28. Human Rights Center ZMINA

  29. Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law

  30. Centre for the Development of Democracy and Human Rights

  31. Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly – Vanadzor

  32. Human Rights Movement “Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan”