As the noise of militarism and war is louder than ever, the world must value the work for peace led by women and civil society organisations around the world.
Nobel Women’s Initiative welcomes recognition of the vital role of civil society for peace and democracy with the awarding of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.
Nobel peace laureates Shirin Ebadi, Rigoberta Menchú Tum, Tawakkol Karman, Leymah Gbowee and Jody Williams send their warm congratulations to the recipients.
The 2022 Peace Prize was awarded to human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus; the Russian human rights organisation Memorial; and the Ukrainian human rights organisation Center for Civil Liberties.
The Nobel Committee underlined their outstanding efforts to document war crimes, human right abuses and the abuse of power. “Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy.”
“Their efforts to establish accountability for human rights abuse in times of war and peace show tremendous courage and serve as an inspiration to everyone who seeks peace with justice,” said 2011 Nobel laureate Tawakkol Karman.
Nobel Women’s Initiative is proud it has been partnering with the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties, headed by Oleksandra Matviychuk, to assert and amplify calls for peace and accountability in Russia’s war against Ukraine.
“Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties are well deserved winners and this acknowledgement of the work of documenting human rights violations during the war also acknowledges the pain and suffering of the Ukrainian population,” said 1997 laureate Jody Williams.
Matviychuk, a human rights lawyer, features in the upcoming Nobel Women’s Initiative short documentary, Oh, Sister!
“It is a collective portrait of Ukrainian women facing the challenges of this inhumane war and the daily fight for peace, justice and freedom,” said Maria Butler, Nobel Women’s Initiative Executive Director. The documentary follows a Nobel Women’s Initiative delegation to Ukraine and Poland in June 2022. It premiered in New York on September 16th, and will soon be released widely.
Nobel peace laureate Jody Williams accompanied Center for Civil Liberties representatives on Sept. 15, 2022 to a meeting with Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed and delivered an open letter from Oleksandra Matviychuk to UN Secretary-General António Guterres calling for Russia’s accountability.
Photo: (l-r) Amina Mohammed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Oleksandra Drik, Centre of Civil Liberties, Jody Williams, Nobel peace laureate, meeting at the UN in New York City, 15 September 2022.
Matviychuck urges reform at the UN, where Russia sits on the Security Council. “Something is clearly wrong with the international peace and security system if in all the months of full-scale invasion no one can stop Russian atrocities,” she said in a social media post earlier this week. “Mass mobilization of ordinary people in different countries of the world and their joint voice can change world history faster than U.N. intervention.”
“Today, we recognise the work of organisations in war, actions of people mobilising in communities,” said Leymah Gbowee, 2011 Nobel peace laureate. “My hope is that these groups can find ways to engage as a first step for citizen-driven peace initiatives.”
The Nobel committee noted that the Center for Civil Liberties, founded in Kyiv in 2007 to advance human rights and democracy in Ukraine, has engaged in efforts to identify and document Russian war crimes against civilians since Russia’s invasion in February.
“In collaboration with international partners, the center is playing a pioneering role with a view to holding the guilty parties accountable for their crimes,” the committee said.
In reference to Memorial, the Nobel Committee said the Russian organization has been standing at the forefront of efforts to combat militarism and promote human rights and government based on rule of law.
Dr. Shirin Ebadi, 2003 Nobel laureate, underlined the importance of the work of human rights organisations during war and under repression of authoritarian regimes. “Ensuring full accountability for all crimes committed and seeking justice is critical to sustainable peace and freedom,” she said.
“When civil society must give way to autocracy and dictatorship, peace is often the next victim,” the committee said.
The committee said Bialiatski, one of the initiators of the democracy movement that emerged in Belarus in the mid-1980s, has devoted his life to promoting democracy and peaceful development in his home country. He is detained without trial.
The Nobel Women’s Initiative was established in 2006 to work in solidarity with women's movements, organizations, and activists around the world to build peace, defend justice, and champion equality for all.
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