IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


4th March, 2023 International Relations

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Context: A court sentenced Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights activist Ales Bialiatski to 10 years in prison for financing protests and other crimes, in a case that rights groups say was politically motivated.


About Nobel Peace Prize:

  • The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist, inventor and armaments (military weapons and equipment) manufacturer Alfred Nobel, along with the prizes in Chemistry, Physics, Physiology or Medicine and Literature.
  • Since March 1901, it has been awarded annually (with some exceptions) to those who have "done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses".
  • In accordance with Alfred Nobel's will, the recipient is selected by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, a five-member committee appointed by the Parliament of Norway.
  • Since 2020 the prize is awarded in the Atrium of the University of Oslo, where it was also awarded 1947–1989; the Abel Prize is also awarded in the building.
  • The prize was previously awarded in Oslo City Hall (1990–2019), the Norwegian Nobel Institute (1905–1946), and the Parliament (1901–1904).

2022 Awards:

  • The most recent prize for 2022 was awarded to human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organisation Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organisation Centre for Civil Liberties.
  • The laureates represent civil society in their home countries, said the committee
  • They have for many years promoted the right to criticise power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens.
  • They have made an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human right abuses and the abuse of power. Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy
  • With the awardees being from Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia, an implicit message has been sent about the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Belarus’s Ales Bialiatski

  • Ales Bialiatski was one of the initiators of the democracy movement that emerged in Belarus in the mid-1980s.
  • Before 1991, when the former Soviet Union fell and independent countries emerged, many countries in Central Asia and Europe saw pro-independence movements.
  • Bialiatski is also credited with founding the organisation Viasna (Spring) in 1996 in response to the controversial constitutional amendments that gave the president dictatorial powers.
  • Over time, Viasna evolved into a “broad-based human rights organisation that documented and protested against the authorities’ use of torture against political prisoners”, said the committee.

Russian human rights organisation, Memorial

  • The committee said the organisation was established in 1987, “by human rights activists in the former Soviet Union who wanted to ensure that the victims of the communist regime’s oppression would never be forgotten.”
  • Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov, who won the prize in 1954, and human rights advocate Svetlana Gannushkina were among the organisation’s founders.
  • “Memorial is based on the notion that confronting past crimes is essential in preventing new ones”, said the committee.
  • It has been described as the largest human rights organisation in Russia, and in the present day, it helped in gathering information on “the political oppression and human rights violations in Russia”, as per the committee’s press release, which called it “the most authoritative source of information on political prisoners in Russian detention facilities”.

Ukrainian human rights organisation, Center for Civil Liberties

  • The Center for Civil Liberties was founded in Kyiv in 2007 “for the purpose of advancing human rights and democracy in Ukraine”, said the committee.
  • Centre describes itself as “One of the leading actors in Ukraine, influencing the formation of public opinion and public policy, supporting the development of civic activism, and actively participating in international networks and solidarity actions to promote human rights”.
  • After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Center for Civil Liberties has engaged in efforts to identify and document Russian “war crimes” against the Ukrainian civilian population, according to the committee.


Q) Which of the following statements is/are correct with reference to Nobel Peace Prize?

a.    Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes established by the will of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel.

b.  Since 2020 the prize is awarded in the Atrium of the University of Oslo.

 I. Only a

II. Only b

III. Both a and b

IV. Neither a nor b

Answer: Option III