The World Council of Churches (WCC) welcomed the news that the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to jailed Belarusian advocate Ales Bialiatski, Russian human rights organization Memorial, and the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties.
The new laureates were honoured for “an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human rights abuses and the abuse of power” in their respective countries, the Nobel Committee said. “They have for many years promoted the right to criticise power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens.”
Peter Prove, WCC director of the Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, reflected that, in situations of conflict and oppression, the space for civil society engagement and action for human rights is often one of the first casualties.
“I therefore welcome the award of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize to Ales Bialiatski, Memorial, and the Center for Civil Liberties, as an important recognition of the critical importance of maintaining and protecting the space for civil society actors for human rights, especially in such difficult situations,” he said. “We call on our member churches and partners everywhere to support and encourage the work of human rights defenders, to recognize and address the experience of the victims of human rights violations around the world, including especially in situations of violent conflict.”
Prove recalled the message, “Strengthening Christian Commitment to Human Dignity and Human Rights,” from an ecumenical conference held in Wuppertal and online in April 2022.
“The message states that we are called ‘to listen to the victims of human rights violations and stand in solidarity with them’,’and to collaborate ecumenically to strengthen those who face attacks because they advocate for victims of human rights violations,” said Prove.