By Rostyslav Averchuk
Lviv, Ukraine, Oct 8 (EFE).- The leaders of the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties, a joint winner of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize, on Saturday dedicated the award to all Ukrainians.
Olexandra Matviychuk and Olexandra Romantsova held a press-conference in Kyiv a day after their organization won the prize along with Belarusian activist Ales Bialiatsi and Russian human rights organization Memorial.
“This award rightfully belongs to all Ukrainian people, who are now fighting for their freedom,” Olexandra Matviychu, head of the NGO, said.
She added the war had demonstrated the best qualities of Ukrainians.
“From a farmer towing away a Russian tank to the president, who, in the critical moment, refused to abandon the capital.”
Matviychuk said Russia should be expelled from the United Nations Security Council and called for a special tribunal to hold Russian president Vladimir Putin, Belarusian leader Alexandr Lukashenko and all those responsible for war crimes accountable.
“The Russian military has committed atrocities for decades, be it in Chechnya, Georgia, Syria, Ukraine, Libya or Mali, remaining unpunished,” she said.
She said her organization had recorded 21,000 war crimes committed by Russia in Ukraine.
The Center for Civil Liberties is also campaigning for the release of thousands of Ukrainian prisoners, both military and civilian, who are being held captive by Russia.
These individuals include Victoria Obidina, who was separated from her 4-year-old daughter during the evacuation from the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol, and Lyudmila Huseynova, who was imprisoned by Russia for her work on the protection of children in Russian-occupied territories.
Matviychuk called on the international community to become the voice of imprisoned Ukrainians and demand their release, saying that “people can achieve much more than they realize.”
Matviychuk warned that the prize, awarded jointly to Ukrainian, Belarusian and Russian human rights activists, should not be construed as perpetuating the dangerous Russian narrative of three brotherly nations.
“The award is about the joint fight for freedom, which has no borders and is something that Putin is afraid of,” she said.
Her colleague, executive director of the Center, Olexandra Romantsova, commended the important work by the Belarusian and Russian activists who fought against the usurpation of power and suppression of historical memory, including the crimes by the Soviet regime, in their countries.
If only we had listened to them earlier, maybe the ongoing Russian aggression in Ukraine wouldn’t have happened, said Romantsova.
“Human rights cannot be abused somewhere without the whole world feeling the effects,” she concluded. EFE