The Nobel Peace Prize 2022
Born: 25 September 1962, Vyartsilya, Karelia, Russia
Residence at the time of the award: Belarus
Prize motivation: “The Peace Prize laureates represent civil society in their home countries. They have for many years promoted the right to criticise power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens. They have made an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human right abuses and the abuse of power. Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy”
Prize share: 1/3
The fight for human rights and democracy
Ales Bialiatski has worked to promote democracy and human rights in Belarus since the 1980s. He has been called a beacon of light for these efforts throughout Eastern Europe.
A constitutional amendment adopted in 1996 gave President Alexander Lukashenko dictatorial powers, triggering protests and demonstrations. The authorities cracked down hard on the protests, and many people were jailed. Ales Bialiatski then founded the organisation Viasna (Spring) to provide support for the incarcerated demonstrators and their families. In the years that followed, Viasna evolved into a human rights organisation that documented the authorities’ abuses against and torture of political prisoners.
As a result of Ales Bialiatski’s work, the government authorities sought to silence him. In 2011, they sentenced him to several years’ imprisonment for alleged tax evasion. He was released in 2014. In June 2021, in the wake of the massive demonstrations against President Lukashenko’s dictatorship that broke out after the presidential election in August 2020, Ales Bialiatski was again jailed, this time without trial or conviction. He was still in prison when he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022.