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Peace Prize Winners

RIGHTS ADVOCATES Ales Bialiatski is an activist in Belarus; Yan Rachinsky is a founder of Memorial, in Russia; Oleksandra Matviychuk heads Ukraine’s Center for Civil Liberties. SERGEI GRITS—AP; YALEXANDER NEMENOV—AFP/GETTY IMAGES; KYODO/AP IMAGES

The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to a person and two groups whose work supports human rights. Ales Bialiatski is a founder of a pro-democracy movement in Belarus. Memorial is a Russian group. And the Center for Civil Liberties works in Ukraine.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee announced the winners on October 7. Chairperson Berit Reiss-Andersen said the winners have “promoted the right to criticize power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens.”

The awards are significant for their timing. In February, Russian troops invaded Ukraine. World leaders have spoken out against Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin. The Center for Civil Liberties has been documenting Russian war crimes. Memorial has defended people against that country’s authoritarian government. A Russian court shut it down last year. Bialiatski is a critic of Belarus’s dictator Aleksandr Lukashenko, who has supported Putin and the war in Ukraine.

Reiss-Andersen was asked if the prizes were a statement about Putin. She said that a Nobel Peace Prize is awarded to someone, not against someone. “This prize is not addressing President Putin,” she said.

Stop & Think! How do you think the Nobel committee selected the winners of the Peace Prize? Which details in the article tell you?

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