Press release

Freedom House Congratulates the 2022 Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize

The decision to recognize defenders of democracy from Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine is a welcome message of support at a time when freedom and human rights are under grave threat in all three countries.

In response to the announcement that human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organization Memorial, and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today, Freedom House president Michael J. Abramowitz issued the following statement:

“Today is a great day for the defenders of freedom and democracy around the world. We at Freedom House congratulate Ales Bialiatski, Memorial, and the Center for Civil Liberties for the much deserved award of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.

“Ales Bialiatski spearheaded the democracy movement that emerged in Belarus in the mid-1980s and has devoted his life to promoting democracy and peaceful development in his country. Bialiatski has been illegitimately detained by the Belarusian authorities since July 2021 in retaliation for his continued work as a human rights activist, particularly as chairman of the Viasna Human Rights Centre. Memorial has meticulously documented atrocities committed by the Soviet and Vladimir Putin regimes, seeking justice and accountability for the victims of both. The organization is also a strong authority on and advocate for political prisoners in Russia and continues to lead efforts to combat Putin’s militarism and promote human rights. The Center for Civil Liberties has been at the forefront of defending civil and political rights in Ukraine since 2007, and their efforts to hold perpetrators of Putin’s illegal, devastating invasion of Ukraine accountable have been no less than exemplary.

“The work of Ales Bialiatski, the Center for Civil Liberties, and Memorial is a testament to the fundamental importance of civil society for fighting impunity, demanding accountability, and safeguarding human rights and democratic values—particularly in the face of authoritarian aggression from regimes like those in Belarus and Russia. Freedom House is proud to have worked closely with these human rights advocates and honored to call each of them not only partners in the defense and promotion of freedom and democracy, but also today—for the first time—Nobel Peace Prize laureates.”

Freedom House is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to create a world where all are free. It informs the world about threats to freedom, mobilize global action, and support democracy’s defenders.