A trio from the three nations at the centre of the war in Ukraine accepted their Nobel Peace Prize on Saturday, calling for an unabated fight against Rus-sian leader Vladimir Putin’s “insane and criminal” invasion.
Jailed Belarusian rights advocate Ales Bialiatski, Russian organisation Memorial and Ukraine’s Centre for Civil Liberties (CCL) were honoured by the Nobel committee for their struggle for “human rights, democracy and peaceful co-existence” in the face of authoritarianism.
“The people of Ukraine want peace more than anyone else in the world. But peace cannot be reached by a country under attack laying down its arms,” the head of the CCL, Oleksandra Matviichuk, said. Founded in 2007, the CCL has documented war crimes allegedly committed by Russian troops in Ukraine. These include shelling residential buildings, churches, schools and hospitals, bombing evacuation corridors, the forced displacement of people, and torture. Due to the Russian bombing of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, Matviichuk had to write her Nobel acceptance speech by candlelight, she said in an interview just hours before the ceremony.
In the nine months since the start of the Russian invasion, the CCL has documented more than 27,000 cases of alleged war crimes, which she said were “only the tip of the iceberg”. “War turns people into numbers. We have to re-claim the names of all victims of war crimes,” she said in her speech, her voice overcome with emotion.—AFP