Ukrainian CSO recognised for human rights work amid the war
Ukraine CSO among Nobel Peace Prize winners
In 2022, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to several non-governmental organisations. One of these was the Kyiv-based Center for Civil Liberties (CCL), which promotes human rights and which runs the ”Euromaidan SOS”, an initiative which has been documenting war crimes by Russian forces against the civilian population in Ukraine since February 2022.
According to the Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Berit Reiss-Andersen, the decision to award the prize to three organisations was a reflection of civil society's significance to peace and democracy.
The other two Nobel Peace Prize winners were Ales Bialiatski (Viasna Centre) from Belarus, and the Russian human rights organisation Memorial, which was shut down by the Russian authorities for failing to add the "foreign agent" label on their publications, as previously reported on the Monitor.
Kin of captive fighters protest in Kyiv
On 30th July 2022, relatives of the Azov Regiment soldiers captured in Mariupol in May 2022 held a rally in Kyiv to demand information about their loved ones. The protest came a day after a missile attack was launched in the colony’s village of Yelenovka, where Ukrainian prisoners of war are kept, killing at least 50 people and injuring 73 others.
Azov was formed as a volunteer battalion during the conflict in Donbas in 2014. Subsequently, it was reformatted into a regiment and became part of the regular Ukrainian army (Ukraine's National Guard). Russian propaganda used the Azov battalion to argue that Ukraine promotes Nazism.
Anti-annexation referendum protests held in Kyiv
At the end of September 2022, several protests were organised in Kyiv by internally displaced residents of the newly occupied cities, such as Mariupol, against the illegal referendums organised by Russia in the occupied regions.
The protests came after the Russian Federation organised illegal referendums between 23rd and 27th September 2022 for the declaration of the ‘independence and subsequent annexation to Russia’, the results of which would determine the entry of the occupied territories into the Russian Federation as newly created territories. Radio Free Europe, citing Moscow, reported that the Russian authorities communicated that approximately 98.35% of the population of the separatist pro-Russian region of Donetsk voted in favour of having the territory join Russia. The same was also reported for Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia and Kherson. Vladimir Putin later signed the decrees recognising the results of the illegal referendums, and shortly afterwards the Russian parliament voted for the annexation.
The illegal referendums were held despite contrary Ukrainian legislation which stipulates that elections or referendums cannot be organised during wartime or the period of martial law. In addition, these referendums were organised by the occupying forces, not by the constitutional, legal authorities.
Crimes against expression committed by both parties to the war
In August 2022, The Institute of Mass Information (IMI), through their Freedom of speech barometer, recorded 17 crimes against freedom of speech in Ukraine for the month of August alone. According to the report, at least 11 of these crimes were committed by Russians on Ukrainian territory. That includes “abductions, attacks on journalists, threats, seizing and destroying Ukrainian media offices, cyber-attacks on Ukrainian media, blocking access to media websites and broadcasting Russian propaganda in the occupied territories.”
In some of these cases, the safety of journalists was put at risk by the Russian military, who launched attacks both in the areas where the journalists were and even in the offices of the newsrooms. In other cases, they accused journalists of promoting fascist actions.
IMI’s findings also documented several violations by the Ukrainian side, related to the limiting of access to public information and cases of surveillance of journalists critical of the government.
For the first time in the history of Ukraine!— Center for Civil Liberties (@ccl_ua) December 18, 2022
Nobel Peace Prize 2022!
"The first ever Nobel Peace Prize at home," - Oleksandra Matviichuk🙌🏻@avalaina
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