Nobel Peace Prize Committee Recognizes Heroic and Vital Human Rights Work

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Learn more about David J. Kramer.
David J. Kramer
Executive Director
George W. Bush Institute

The Bush Institute is committed to supporting those struggling for freedom around the world, including those in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.

The Bush Institute is committed to supporting those struggling for freedom around the world, including those in Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.

 

Accordingly, we salute the decision of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee to recognize the heroic and vital work of Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, along with the Russian human rights group Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organization Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties. All three winners, at considerable personal cost, have been steadfast in their principled positions speaking out against authoritarianism past and present, human rights abuses, and corruption.

As the Putin regime pursues its unprovoked and brutal war against Ukraine, to include war crimes and genocide, it simultaneously continues its ugly crackdown on human rights inside Russia and its support for fellow authoritarian Aleksandr Lukashenka in neighboring Belarus. We are heartened by the Peace Prize Committee’s decision to recognize the unflinching commitment to universal values displayed by this year’s awardees and join in applauding their courage and perseverance.

 

Over the past 7 months, we have witnessed Putin’s senseless invasion of Ukraine create a horrifying humanitarian crisis that includes the loss of tens of thousands of lives, the destruction of Ukrainian cities, mass migration challenges, the violation of basic human rights, and the destabilization of global food and energy markets. In Belarus, after stealing the 2020 election, Lukashenka has launched an appalling crackdown inside that country, and ordered the hijacking of a civilian airliner in May 2021 and weaponization of migrants and refugees last fall – all with Putin’s support. In Russia, the number of political prisoners continues to rise as Putin seeks to suppress all media and any opposition, while forcing hundreds of thousands of Russians to fight in a senseless war, for which he bears total responsibility.

 

In Russia, the number of political prisoners continues to rise as Putin seeks to suppress all media and any opposition.

 

This situation cannot be tolerated by nations who value the liberal democratic order that has provided decades of relative peace and prosperity. It’s important that free societies signal to Putin and other authoritarian leaders that such aggression will not be met passively, nor will a blind eye be turned to the persecution of freedom activists.

 

Never forget that the moral clarity provided by democratic values and solidarity with those struggling for basic human dignity are necessary to defeating authoritarianism.