OSLO: The winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize from Belarus, Russia and Ukraine shared their visions of a fairer world and denounced Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine during Saturday’s award ceremony in the Norwegian capital.
Oleksandra Matviichuk of Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties dismissed calls for a political compromise that would allow Russia to retain some of the illegally annexed Ukrainian territories, saying that “fighting for peace does not mean yielding to pressure of the aggressor, it means protecting people from its cruelty. ”
Matviichuk was named a co-winner of the 2022 peace prize in October along with Russian human rights group Memorial and Ales Bialiatski, head of the Belarusian rights group Viasna. “Peace cannot be reached by a country under attack laying down its arms,” she said, her voice trembling with emotion. “This would not be peace, but occupation. ” Matviichuk repeated her earlier call for Putin — and Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, who provided his country’s territory for Russian troops to invade Ukraine — to face an international tribunal.
Under the terms of Alfred Nobel’s will, the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded by the Norwegian Nobel Committee since 1901. Saturday’s award ceremonies took place at the Oslo City Hall in the presence of King Olav V and Queen Sonja, while the other Nobel prizes were formally presented during ceremonies in the Swedish capital, Stockholm, later the same day.
Bialiatski, who is jailed in Belarus pending his trial and faces a prison sentence of up to 12 years, wasn’t allowed to send his speech. His wife, Natallia Pinchuk, delivered his remarks: “In my homeland, the entirety of Belarus is in a prison. . . This award belongs to all my human rights defender friends, all civic activists, tens of thousands of Belarusians who have gone through beatings, torture, arrests, prison. ” Bialiatski is the fourth person in the 121-year history of the Prize to receive it while in prison or detention.
Russia’s top court in Dec 2021 shut down Memorial, one of Russia’s oldest and most prominent human rights organizations that was acclaimed for its studies of political repression in the Soviet Union. Jan Rachinsky of Memorial said in his speech that “today’s sad state of civil society in Russia is a direct consequence of its unresolved past. ”

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