Libereco members Fabian Kohler and Lars Bünger at a meeting with Ales Bialiatski in Minsk 2015

The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize goes to Belarusian human rights defender Ales Bialiatski, the Russian human rights organization Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties. Libereco congratulates the laureates – and calls for increased pressure on Belarus to finally release Bialiatski from prison.

For more than a decade, the German-Swiss human rights organization Libereco – Partnership for Human Rights has been working closely with the Belarusian human rights center Viasna, whose founder and director is Ales Bialiatski. On Friday, the Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 60-year-old with this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

“Ales is a tireless fighter for the respect of human rights”

Libereco congratulates: “We are extremely pleased that our friend and colleague Ales Bialiatski was awarded for his decades-long commitment. Ales is a tireless fighter for the respect of human rights, who has already had to spend several years in prison for his convictions. We demand from the Belarusian regime that he and all other political prisoners in Belarus be released immediately and unconditionally. We very much hope that we will be able to see Ales again in freedom in December for the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo,” says Lars Bünger, President of Libereco in Switzerland.

Ales Bialiatski was arrested on July 14, 2021 and is one of currently more than 1400 political prisoners in Belarus who are innocently in jail because of their commitment to freedom, democracy and human rights. In 1996, Bialiatski founded the Belarusian human rights center Viasna, which today can only operate from exile.

Ales Bialiatski is one of over 1400 political prisoners in Belarus.

Together with Viasna, Libereco has been campaigning for the release of all political prisoners in Belarus since July 2020 with the #WeStandBYyou solidarity campaign. As part of the campaign, more than 300 members of European parliaments have already taken on a godparenthood for political prisoners in Belarus. Nicola Beer, Vice-President of the European Parliament, symbolically adopted Ales Bialiatski in the process.

“The decision of the Norwegian Nobel Committee is a clear signal to the dictators and warmongers in Russia and Belarus,” says Marco Fieber, Executive Director of Libereco in Germany. He emphasizes: “Ales Bialiatski, Memorial and the Center for Civil Liberties are outstanding civil society institutions in their countries and central pillars in the fight for freedom and human rights. They have been working for many years in their home countries for the observance of human rights, the rule of law and democracy. It is precisely for this reason that Bialiatski and Memorial are being relentlessly pursued by the Belarusian and Russian leaders, respectively.”

In addition to Bialiatski, five other Viasna members are in Belarusian custody; the organization itself is banned in Belarus, as is Memorial in Russia.