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Human rights advocates win 2022 Nobel Peace Prize

October 7, 2022

Human rights organizations from Ukraine and Russia, as well as rights advocate Ales Bialiatski of Belarus, have won this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

Nobel Peace Prize
The Peace Prize is the only one of the Nobel prizes awarded in Norway

Rights campaigner Ales Bialatski of Belarus, the Russian human rights organization Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties have won this year's Nobel Peace Prize. 

Ales Bialiatski - A prominent human rights activist in Belarus
Bialiatski was detained following anti-government protests in 2020 and remains in jail without trialImage: Vit Simanek/CTK/dpa/picture alliance

The Norwegian Nobel Committee in Oslo made the announcement on Friday. It said the award went to ''three outstanding champions of human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence in the neighbor countries Belarus, Russia and Ukraine.''

What else did the Nobel Committee say?

"The Peace Prize laureates represent civil society in their home countries. They have for many years promoted the right to criticize power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in its citation.

"They have made an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human rights abuses, and the abuse of power. Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy," the head of the Norwegian Nobel committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, said.

Belarusian opposition politician Pavel Latushko said the award was an honor for all political prisoners in Belarus.

"It motivates all of us to struggle. We are sure we will win against Lukashenko," he said, referring to Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko.

Nobel Peace Prize to activists from Belarus, Russia, Ukraine

The list of nominations was a closely guarded secret but was known to have 343 names on it, featuring 251 individuals and 92 organizations.

Ahead of the announcement, there was speculation that the committee would have to acknowledge Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine.

Last year's winners were journalists Dmitry Muratov of Russia and Maria Ressa of the Philippines. Since receiving the prize, both have been fighting for the survival of their news organizations, defying attempts to silence them by their own governments.

How is the Nobel Peace Prize awarded?

Each year, the committee permits nominations from a large pool of experts, such as academics, lawmakers, and previous recipients.

The winner is invited to Norway to give a Nobel lecture and receive a monetary prize worth 10 million Swedish kronor (nearly $900,000; €917,000).

The peace prize is awarded to those who have "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations."

However, the prize is not without controversy, having been given in the past to individuals who went on to be accused of human rights abuses and war crimes.

It is the only one of the Nobel prizes that is not handed out in Sweden. It is awarded in Oslo by the chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, with Norway's King Harald V in attendance.

Alfred Nobel established the prize in his will before he died in 1896. He left the majority of his money to the establishment of "prizes to those who, during the preceding year, shall have conferred the greatest benefit to mankind" in physics, chemistry, medicine, literature, and peace.

Nobel, the inventor of dynamite and military explosives, famously established the prize so he could leave a better legacy after being criticized for "finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before."

This year's winners in other fields

A week of Nobel Prize announcements kicked off Monday with Swedish scientist Svante Paabo receiving the award in medicine for his work in human genomics and evolution.

Three scientists jointly won the prize in physics for work on a phenomenon known as quantum entanglement.

The Nobel Prize in chemistry was awarded for work on Lego-like "click chemistry" molecules to explore cells, map DNA and design drugs.

French author Annie Ernaux was the winner of this year's Nobel Prize in literature.

The 2022 Nobel Prize in economics is to be announced on Monday.

rc/nm (AP, AFP)