We are extremely pleased with today's decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to civil society advocates in Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia. The Belarusian human rights activist Ales Byaljatzki and Viasna, the organization closely associated with him, the Russian organization Memorial, and the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties have been awarded for their outstanding commitment to freedom and democracy in their countries for many years as civil society representatives. All three organizations have been close and trusted partners for us for many years.
We think it is a very powerful signal to support civil society forces through awarding the Nobel Peace Prize , especially this year and in these three countries. It is an endorsement of all those who work towards an active civil society, and an encouragement to others to strive for a pluralistic and vibrant European civil society against all odds. Their commitment can overcome borders, war, and dictatorships.
We express our solidarity with Ales Byalyatzki, who since July 2021 has once again been in detention as a political prisoner, and we call for his immediate release. In Russia, the legal dissolution of Memorial that was forced by the state at the beginning of 2022 must be lifted, and freedom of expression and action for civil society organizations restored. Our joint work to achieve this will continue in the years to come.