Nobel peace laureates champion civil society, condemn Russia

Oslo, Dec 10 (EFE).- Ukrainian, Belarusian and Russian activists defended the work of civil society orgnaisations and called on Russia to be held to account for its alleged war crimes while being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo on Saturday.

Jailed Belarusian Ales Bialiatski, represented by his wife, Natallia Pinchuk; the director of the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties, Oleksandra Matviychuk; and Jan Rachinski, representative of the Russian organization Memorial, denounced the situation in their countries and the malevolent influence of Moscow.

Bialiatski and the other two organizations were honored for “promoting the right to criticize power and protecting the fundamental rights of citizens,” as well as for their efforts to document war crimes, human rights abuses and power, Nobel Committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Andersen said.

Reiss-Andersen stressed that the laureates represent the vital role played by civil society for peace and democracy.

Bialiatski’s wife said the award gives hope to Belarusians that they can count on the solidarity of the “democratic world” in their struggle for their rights, “no matter how long the struggle lasts.”

Matviychuk referred directly to Russia, which she accused of deliberately targeting civilians to stop their resistance and occupy Ukraine.

The Ukrainian activist, who opposed negotiations with Russia, assured that in her country there is a struggle between “authoritarianism and democracy”, not between two states, and demanded a change in the international security system.

“We have to establish an international tribunal and bring Putin, Lukashenko and other war criminals to justice. Yes, it is a brave step. But we have to show that the rule of law works and justice exists, even if it is overdue,” she said.

In his speech, Memorial’s representative, Jan Rachinski lauded the work of the organization in documenting repression in the Soviet Union era and in present-day Russia and its surrounding countries.EFE


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