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After receiving the Nobel, activists defend civil society and attack Russia

activists Ukrainians, Belarusians and Russians defended today by receiving the Peace Nobel in Oslo the work of civil society for the human rightswhile they attacked Russia and demanded justice against war crimes.

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The Belarusian Ales Bialiatski, represented by his wife, Natallia Pinchuk; the director of the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties, Oleksandra Matviychuk; and Jan Rachinski, representative of the Russian organization Memorial, denounced the situation in their countries, pointing to Moscow.

“Ales and all of us know how important and risky it is to fulfill the mission of human rights defenders, especially in the tragic time of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine”Pinchuk said.

Bialiatski and the other two organizations were honored for “promoting the right to criticize power and protecting the fundamental rights of citizens,” as well as for their efforts to document war crimes, human rights abuses, and power, the president recalled. of the Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen.

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Reiss-Andersen stressed that the laureates represent the “vital” role played by civil society “for peace and democracy” and had a special reminder for Bialiatski: “You are not alone, we are with you.”

His wife stressed that the Nobel gives “hope” to Belarusians that they can count on the solidarity of the “democratic world” in their fight for their rights, “No matter how long it lasts.”

In his speech, Pinchuk cited some previous statements by Bialiatski and others made directly to her in the only visit he was able to make in the almost year and a half that he has been imprisoned.

“All of Belarus is in a prison”said Bialiatski through his wife, and at the same time demanded “justice” against those who have committed “mass crimes” and free elections, while also targeting Moscow for supporting the Minsk regime.

Russia wants a Ukraine similar to today’s Belarus, “where the voice of the oppressed people is ignored and not taken into consideration”, although there the population has already “awakened”, he claimed.

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Matviychuk also referred directly to Russia, which he accused of deliberately attacking civilians to curb their resistance and occupy Ukraine.

The Ukrainian activist opposed the negotiation with Russia and defended that fighting for peace “It does not mean giving in to the pressure of the aggressor, it means protecting people from their cruelty.”

Matviychuk assured that in his country there is a struggle between “authoritarianism and democracy”not between two states, and demanded a change in the international security system, as well as justice to be able to judge war crimes committed by great powers.

“We have to establish an international court and bring” Russian President Vladimir Putin; that of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko “and other war criminals to justice. Yes, it is a brave step. But we have to show that the rule of law works and justice exists, even if it is delayed.”he claimed.

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The representative of Memorial, Jan Rachinski, alluded in his speech to the work that this organization has carried out, both documenting the repression in the days of the Soviet Union and in present-day Russia and its surrounding countries.

“Today the number of political prisoners in Russia is higher than the total in the entire USSR at the beginning of the perestroika period in the 1980s,” held.

Rachinski defended that in today’s Russia the conception of the State as the supreme value still prevails, which leads to impunity and the destruction of civil society.

He also accused Vladimir Putin’s regime of justifying an “insane and criminal” war with its attacks on Ukrainian nationalism, using the figure of the controversial collaborator with Nazi Germany Stepan Bandera, and “manipulating” the concepts of fascism and anti-fascism.

“The words ‘Russian soldier’ ​​will be associated by many, from now on, not with those who fought against Hitler, but with those who sow death and destruction on Ukrainian territory”he added.

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Today’s ceremony was the first that could be carried out normally since 2019, due to the coronavirus pandemic, which forced alternative formulas.

Around a thousand guests filled the Oslo City Hall, with the entire Norwegian royal family, in a ceremony that featured, as always, musical accompaniment, in whose program this year the song “Estrellita” by the Mexican musician Manuel Ponce was included.

The winners, who will share the 10 million Swedish crowns (917,000 euros or 962,000 dollars) with which all the Nobel Prize winners are endowed, follow two journalists, Maria Ressa from the Philippines and Dmitri Muratov from Russia, distinguished in 2021 for his defense of freedom of expression.

The Peace Prize is the only one of the six prizes that is awarded and delivered outside of Sweden, in Oslo, at the express wish of its creator, Alfred Nobel, since in his time Norway was part of the Swedish kingdom.

The Konserthus in Stockholm will host the ceremony for the rest of the Nobel Prize winners at 4:00 p.m. local time (3:00 p.m. GMT).

Source: Elcomercio

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