On 10 December, representatives of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize laureates gathered at Oslo City Hall in Norway for the official Nobel Peace Prize award ceremony.
As one of the oldest feminist peace organisations in the world, WILPF wishes to extend its congratulations to the three winners of this year’s Nobel Peace Prize: Ales Bialiatski of Belarus, the Center for Civil Liberties (CCL) in Ukraine, and the Russian human rights organisation Memorial.
This prize comes in the midst of challenging times. The number of human rights violations taking place and the inability of legal mechanisms and multilateralism to stop them or protect victims are leaving all of us to face despair and disillusionment. But disillusionment is hugely dangerous to our human rights community; it strips us of the tools we carefully curated over decades and leaves us exposed and vulnerable in a battlefield that is not ours.
At WILPF, we believe it is our collective role to lift one another from despair, re-centre our common cause of peace, freedom, and dignity for all, and re-strategise so our tools are relevant and effective. We hope the Nobel Peace Prize serves as a motivation to realise this goal.
The 2022 prize was awarded at the end of a year that brought major threats to world peace and countless human rights abuses in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine – the latest act of brutality in Russia’s long history of violence, occupation, war crimes, and human rights violations in the region.
Each of this year’s laureates has spent years working for peace in the face of abuses perpetrated by Russia and its closest allies.
Since the mid-1980s, Bialiatski has been leading a pro-democracy movement in Belarus and founded the country’s most prominent human rights organisation. During mass demonstrations in 2020, he helped track people who were detained during protests and raids across Belarus in an effort to seek accountability and justice.
Memorial was established by a group of Russian human rights activists in 1987, with a mission to provide support to victims of the communist regime. The group maintained a massive archive of Soviet-era crimes and campaigned against rights violations in Chechnya. It was shut down by Russia’s Supreme Court in late 2021.
CCL is a Ukrainian organisation founded in 2007 to promote human rights and democracy. It has been heavily involved in advocating for Ukraine to become affiliated with the International Criminal Court, and has been documenting Russian war crimes against local civilians since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
While we congratulate this year’s winners, we are also reflecting on our own long and storied history with the Nobel Peace Prize!
Read about WILPF pioneers Jane Addams and Emily Greene Balch – the second and third women to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize – and the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which won the Prize in 2017 in recognition of its efforts to drive progress towards a nuclear-free world. WILPF is a proud international steering group member with ICAN.