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Ales Bialiatski is a writer and human rights activist from Belarus. Bialiatski has fought to protect the Belarusian language, identity and culture, and played an important part in the democracy movement that emerged in Belarus during the 1980s. Today he is imprisoned for the second time, and is one of more than 1,400 political prisoners in Belarus.


The Center for Civil Liberties (CCL) is a Ukrainian human rights organization founded in Kyiv in 2007. The Center aims to promote democracy, human rights and human dignity. It coordinates campaigns, helps to spread information and works alongside Ukrainian authorities to develop Ukraine as a fully-fledged democracy under the rule of law.


M emorial is one of Russia’s oldest and most prominent human rights organizations. The organization was founded in 1987 by, among others, peace prize laureate Andrei Sakharov and human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina. Memorial is both a human rights center and a historical archive of repression in the Soviet period.

Graphic element of a yellow stripe across a light gray background


In 2022, the Nobel Peace Prize was jointly awarded to the human rights activist Ales Bialiatski from Belarus, the Russian human rights organization Memorial and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties.

This year’s peace prize laureates fight a tireless battle for democracy and human rights in Belarus, Russia and Ukraine. The laureates are from three different countries and are faced with three unique and challenging situations. After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the work of human rights organizations has become even more difficult — and even more important.

This year’s peace prize exhibition shows how civil society is an important channel for criticism of power and a counterweight to anti­ democratic tendencies. The exhibition showcases the three peace prize laureates and their work.

In collaboration with Magnum Photos, the exhibition also features images from civil protests of recent years. All over the world, people are coming together to stand up for their rights and express their disagreement with the authorities.

The peace prize laureates represent civil society in their home countries. They have for many years promoted the right to criticize power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee, 7 October 2022


Collage with pictures of young people monitoring protests

Photo: © Viasna / Memorial / Center for Civil Liberties


What does it mean to fight for human rights? All over the world, activists are working to defend freedom and dignity, and to strengthen democracy and peace.

Young woman in yellow vestwrites on her notepad. Behind her, there are people with pride flags.

Photo: © Center for Civil Liberties


This year’s peace prize laureates come from countries with different forms of government. Ukraine is a democracy, and the Center for Civil Liberties supports democratic free­doms. The center organizes volunteers who monitor peaceful protests. In yellow vests, they ensure that the population can express their opinions and criticize the authorities.

Ales Bialiatski’s home country Belarus is considered to be an authoritarian regime. Viasna organizes volunteer observers for the elections in Belarus. In 2020, several hundred people volunteered to help. Viasna was finally allowed to deploy a hundred volunteers. There was extensive electoral fraud, and several sources claim that the opposition candidate, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, received the most votes.

Front pages from reports written about human rights violations.

Photo: © Viasna / Memorial / Center for Civil Liberties


Human rights defenders monitor situations around the world. This human rights work, which is carried out by lawyers, activists, journalists and volunteers, results in piles of reports. The findings they contain are used to influence authorities and inform the international community.

Two women are interviewed while holding large decks of cards with Putin as a joker.

Photo: © Center for Civil Liberties


Human rights defenders work to ensure that other people can express themselves. At the same time, they are also activists who organize campaigns to put pressure on the authorities when this is necessary.



Accurate documentation of abuses of power enables society to seek justice for victims, to hold perpetrators accountable, and to deter future abuse.

A man and woman in front of a bombed house.

Photo: © Center for Civil Liberties


The Center for Civil Liberties documents the ongoing war crimes and abuses against the civilian population in Ukraine. Together with other Ukrainian organizations and international partners, it collects evidence from all over the country. The initiative is called the Tribunal for Putin.

As long as those in power and military leaders can commit violence without consequences, the Center for Civil Liberties believes they will not stop. Therefore, those who violate international law during conflicts must be held accountable. Impunity for war criminals must end.

An open grave with skeletons, surrounded by a priest and people.

Photo: © E. Pokorni / Memorial


Memorial began as a network of volunteers with a desire to preserve the collective memories of historical abuses committed in the Soviet Union. When the country opened up to the outside world at the end of the 1980s, its population learned about the abuses committed during the Soviet period. The founders of Memorial wanted to establish a research center to reveal the dark history of the Soviet Union. They wanted to establish memorials for the victims.



Information and education are central to human rights work. When communities know their rights, they are more resilient to abuse of power.

Man (Ales Bialiatski) hands out newspapers on the street in rainy weather.

Photo: © Viasna


For Ales Bialiatski, the written word has always been a way to express political resistance. It is a method for spreading information about human rights violations and abuse. This photo shows Bialiatski on the street handing out campaign leaflets against the death penalty.

Front pages of three Belarusian opposition newspapers.

Photo: © The right to freedom


Three front pages from the Belarusian opposition newspaper "The right to freedom". Ales was one of the founders of the newspaper.

1. Fourth edition 1998: Picture from a trial, with the headline “Heroes of our time” about the activists who are willing to risk prison for what they believe in. 2. Fifth edition 1998: Caricature of an executioner painting over the red and white flag, which symbolizes Belarusian identity and opposition to the current government. 3. Seventh edition 1998: The front page shows a drawing of the current president Alexander Lukashenko, with the headline “Don’t criticize the president, he rules as well as he is able to…"

 Collage of images of young people sitting in classrooms.

Photo: © Viasna / Memorial / Center for Civil Liberties


Human rights organizations also function as hubs for collaboration and coordination. The organizations hold, among others, social events, human rights education, demonstrations, conferences, film screenings, historical walks, lectures and discussion groups.

Collage of a photo of a young girl holding her hands up to visualize something about a photo of young people sitting on a staircase.

Photo: © Center for Civil Liberties


In Ukraine, democracy education is part of the school curriculum. In societies where human rights are not part of the school curriculum, civil society is responsible for human rights education. In this way, the population, and especially youth, gain knowledge about their rights and how they can defend them in the future.

 Poster with a picture of a frog in a yellow OZON vest. Text: "Kiss me, I'm observer"."

Photo: © OZON


For the peace prize laureates, communication is more than words. These organizations use drawings and visual material in their work. They work closely with cartoonists to produce material used both for campaigning and as information in social media.

Black and white drawing of a mobile phone in a hand showing an image of a person leaning on a hospital gurney. The drawing has Russian text on it.

For the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate organizations, communication is more than words. The organizations use drawings and visual material in their work.

 A drawing of 3 faces watching the face of a policeman with Ukrainian text underneath.

Instagram post, 21 February 2020 - The organization Ozon publishes a 50-page report on national monitoring of illegal police violence in Ukraine from the period 2004-2018.

A collage of 3 duplicate black and white photos of a policeman with a gas mask and Ukrainian text.

Instagram post, 17 April 2020 - Due to the corona pandemic, Ukrainian laws changed quickly and the organization Ozon offers an article with an overview of how the police broke these administrative protocols.

 A collage of a drawing of people with spotlights as heads and a bunch of smaller stick figures of people running from the lights.

Instagram post, 28 March 2020: The organization Ozon calls on civilians to document evidence of illegal use of force such as unjustified imprisonment and deprivation of liberty in the absence of a crime.

A drawing of a hand holding a cell phone with a camera towards a prisoner.

Photo: @ Viasna

Instagram post, 26 September 2022 - 'Incriminating' videos of arrestees are being published, despite them pleading not guilty.

A drawing of various people with speech bubbles with Russian text.

Instagram post, 17 February 2022 - Information about a live stream where independent journalists spoke about the important work of Memorial after the liquidation of the organization.

A drawing of a building and text bubbles with Russian text, one of which contains the Memorial's logo.

Instagram post, 28 December 2021 - The liquidation of the Memorial was decided, but the organization did not give up and appealed the case in the Moscow City Court.

 A drawing of three microphones aimed at the Memorial logo.

Instagram post, 11 March 2022 - Memorial criticizes the Russian Foreign Ministry's statement to withdraw Russia from the Council of Europe.

 A drawing of a group of people entering a building with a soldier in the foreground. Around the drawings there is a text frame in Russian.

Photo: © Memorial

Instagram post, 14 October 2022 - "Diaries from World War II are a priceless reminder of the reality of the times of struggle, death and loss. Pages of a diary, dated from October 1941 to August 1943, shows the destruction of the civilian population, the corruption of the occupation authorities, and falsifying science to justify war crimes".

 A drawing of a hand holding a sheet of Russian writing and more Russian text in the background.

Photo: © Memorial

Instagram post, 14 October 2022 - Page from diary dated August 17, 1942: "Today I performed the first revolutionary act of my life: I supported the anti-fascist proclamations".

 A drawing of Russian text with flames in the background.

Photo: © Memorial

Instagram post, 14 October 2022 - Page from diary dated 17 November 1941 about the famine disaster of World War II: "I thought of committing suicide and thus freeing my family from an extra".

A drawing with Russian text and pictures of various people in picture frames.

Photo: © Memorial

Instagram post, 3 August 2022 - Illustration by Lily Matveeva in connection with the commemoration of the Great Terror in the Soviet Union, 5 August. On this day in 1937, the punitive campaign began by order 00447: "To suppress criminals and other anti-Soviet elements".

 A collage with an image of a woman writing on a sheet of paper with a frame of illustrations and Russian text around it.

Instagram post, 19 April 2022 - Memorial posts pages of Irina Khoroshunova's diary from World War II: "It's like everything peaceful never existed".

A drawing of a large black hand reaching down towards a house, with Russian text underneath.

Memorial is calling on supporters to show up and show solidarity at the hearing of the case where state prosecutors want to transfer the organization's premises to the Russian Federation.

A collage consisting of drawings with dead people on an open street and a sad dog. Above the drawings there is Russian text.

Photo: © Memorial

Instagram post, 14 October 2022 - Diary page dated 9 November 1941: "Some people don't have to feel their hunger".

 Illustrations of a book with Russian text, a book of drawings of people, a portrait of a man in uniform, 3 planes dropping bombs, a military helmet, a piano, and fish bones. There is Russian text in several places in the drawing.

Instagram post, 9 May 2022 - Every year at the end of April, Memorial selects the winner of the school competition "Man in History", where teenagers are encouraged to explore the history of their relatives, ancestors and about their cities - to understand what the twentieth century was like in Russia. The 2022 competition was canceled due to the liquidation of Memorial.

A drawing with Russian text and Memorial's logo on top.

Instagram post, 22 February 2022 - Memorial invites press to conference on the appeal against their liquidation decided by the Supreme Court in Moscow.

 An illustration with lots of text in Russian, a drawing of a man's face and the Memorial logo in the middle.

Instagram post, 5 April 2022 - Announcement that the Memorial human rights center was to be liquidated.

A poster that shows the crimes of Russian military against the population of Ukraine. At the bottom of the illustration, there is a drawing of the Russian President, Vladimir Putin's face, with the text "Tribunal for Putin" above.

Photo: © Center for Civil Liberties

Facebook post, 24 August 2022 - "Tribunal for Putin" documents war crimes committed in the conflict between Ukraine and Russia. The initiative works with the UN, the Council of Europe, the EU, the OSCE and the International Court of Justice to stop the brutality of these crimes.

 An illustration consisting of 6 drawn faces with the text "#FreeViasna" underneath.

Instagram post, 18 November 2022 - "Support the six human rights defenders in Viasna. Six of our colleagues are still in prison for their principled position and disagreement with the actions of the authorities".

Drawing of Ales Bialiatski as a blue cat with a red heart drawn on his chest and a crow on his shoulder. Cat-Ales stands above a drawn prison with a group of dogs in front. In the background of Ales there are flowers, a sun and flying seagulls. On the belly of Cat-Ales it says "Viasna" in Belarusian.

Photo: © Viasna

Instagram post, 13 October 2022 - Artist Olga Yakubovskaya dedicated her work to Ales Bialiatski: "The sun will look into our window too. Freedom for all political prisoners!"

 A drawing of a kneeling lady, bound by red threads emerging from surveillance cameras. In the background there is a boy.

Photo: © Viasna

Instagram post, 14 October 2022 - Human rights activists call for Mother's Day greetings for female political prisoners who were separated from their children. At the time, there were 163 female political prisoners in Belarus, and a further 234 women who had been sentenced to house arrest.

 Black and white photo of a lady with yellow markings around. Above her is a yellow text box with Belarusian text, and next to her is also a yellow text box with Belarusian text and a blue arrow below.

Photo: © Viasna

Instagram post, 8 September 2022 - Activist Marfa Rabkova, who was sentenced to 15 years, says her last word: "When we express solidarity - we are approaching the arrival of Belarus".

A black and white photo of a policeman with blue markings around. Beside the man there is writing in Belarusian and below it is a yellow text box with a blue arrow below.

Photo: © Viasna

Instagram post, 13 October 2022 - According to Viasna's data, Belarusian judges issued at least 40 fines and 85 arrests against protesters in September.


Voluntary work is key to civil society. Particularly in times of crisis, voluntary organizations play a vital role in supporting the public.

A lady sitting over a table writing a letter. In front of her on the table we read #PrisonersVoice.

Photo: © Center for Civil Liberties


The Memorial Human Rights Center has operated as a logistics center in situations where the Russian population has needed support. It documents human rights violations in both Russia and abroad.

Memorial is an aid channel for immigrants and asylum seekers and provides legal assistance to groups that are oppressed by the authorities.

Members of Euromaidan SOS smiling in a group portrait in front of a banner with the inscription E-SOS

Photo: © Center for Civil Liberties


After the Russian invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the Center for Civil Liberties restarted Euromaidan SOS. Hundreds of volunteers are building a network for legal assistance and information about the war.



A political prisoner is someone imprisoned for their political or ideological convictions or activities. The three 2022 peace prize laureates keep records of political prisoners and are fighting for their release. Ales Bialiatski is himself a political prisoner in Belarus.

Ales Bialiatski waves to the camera. In front of Ales you can see two prison bars.

Photo: Ales Bialiatski in court. Belarus, 2011. © Yulia Darashkevich


Ales Bialiatski is one of more than 1,400 political prisoners held in Belarus. He is kept in a damp prison cell in a basement in Minsk. His family and friends send him letters, but receive no reply and know little about how he is.

Campaign image from #FreeViasna. Graphics of six faces and a hashtag written underneath.

Photo: © Viasna


In Belarus there are more than 1,400 political prisoners. The international community and Viasna are collaborating on the FreeViasna campaign. Its aim is to release Bialiatski and other members of Viasna from prison, and to inform the international community of the activists the Belarusian government tries to silence.

Bialiatski created Viasna to help political prisoners in Belarus himself. Now he is one of them. Viasna’s reports state that the prisoners are being subjected to torture and abuse.



A black square with a yellow line across it.


When does freedom of expression become activism? How do ordinary people react to tyranny and oppression? Defending our rights can range from writing a letter, spraying a slogan, or joining a protest, to throwing a Molotov cocktail.

The right to freedom of political expression is essential to a healthy democracy. Under authoritarian rule, protest against those in power can lead to imprisonment or death.

The Nobel Peace Prize 2022 celebrates the bravery of ordinary people. We welcome you to explore this photo series and encourage you to reflect on what made these people take action. What would you do in their place? 

When do ordinary people become activists?

A person holds up a bouquet of sunflowers in the air. Around the person there are several people. There are two buildings in the background on either side of the arm that lifts the sunflower.

Photo: © William Keo / Magnum Photos


Paris, France. 26 February 2022.

Anti-war demonstrations against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine on 24 February 2022. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has sparked fierce, widespread outrage and condemnation around the world. Putin’s military aggression has also created dissent in Russia, where publicly protesting against Kremlin policy can lead to serious repercussions, including imprisonment.

A crowd with banners showing Putin with a swastika on his forehead and the flag of Ukraine.

Photo: © Stuart Franklin / Magnum Photos


London, the UK. 26 February 2022.

Demonstration against Vladimir Putin’s war against Ukraine, outside Downing Street, London. Hundreds of people demonstrated their support for Ukraine, revulsion at Russia’s invasion and demanded stronger action from the West.

A crowd in a protest, several with face masks and their phones flashing when taking photos.

Photo: © Nanna Heitmann / Magnum Photos


Pro-Navalny protest in the city center of Moscow, Russia. 21 April 2021. Between January and April 2021, protests against the detention of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny were held in 198 towns and cities across Russia. The 2021 protests were the largest anti-government demonstrations since 2012. The protests were met with police crackdowns. More than 1,600 people taking part in the April 21 countrywide protest were detained.

Five girls next to each other with anonymized faces.

Photo: © Newsha Tavakolian / Magnum Photos


Iran, 2018.

“We were all together on Friday night and on Saturday, after university hours we joined people on the street. After the beginning of the arrests and the pressure from the police, the protests ended, and we didn't go to the streets anymore. Some of our friends were arrested, we are worried for them. There are many conflicts and differences among the university students. So, you can't exactly say what you want.

Our main concern is to support people, mostly the lower class and workers. For us it is important to add women's rights to these protests. We think that we will see the results of these protests clearly in the next elections; how many of the people will vote? We voted for President Rouhani because we believed in reform, but now we see this is not a possible way to make changes. We need to find new alternatives.”

A child with a sign screaming in front of a globe, with other people in the background.

Photo: © Martin Parr / Magnum Photos


Whitehall, London, the UK. 2019.

An Extinction Rebellion protest for climate justice. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of central London in a non-violent campaign calling for climate justice. Bridges and roads were blocked by activists, attempting to force politicians to heed their warning. Several hundred people were arrested.

Indigenous flags and banners raised under the sky by a crowd.

Photo: © Larry Towell / Magnum Photos


Windsor, Ontario, Canada. 16 January 2013.

Idle No More, a native rights protest at the US/Canadian border blocking traffic at Ambassador Bridge. In support of Chief Theresa Spence's six-week-long hunger strike for better housing for indigenous people.

Girl carrying a banner that says "Stop calling me murzyn" (murzyn is Polish for "negro").

Photo: © Rafal Milach / Magnum Photos


Warsaw, Poland. 4 June 2020.

A 10-year-old girl with a banner saying “STOP CALLING ME MURZYN” during the protest against racism and police brutality, a few days after the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police. This photograph went viral and initiated a nationwide discussion about racism in Poland. The debate led to an official statement from the Polish Language Committee to declare the word murzyn (the Polish word for "negro") as offensive.

Large policeman with his back to the camera.

Photo: © Christopher Anderson / Magnum Photos


Midtown Manhattan, New York, the USA. 21 January 2017.

Prompted by Donald Trump's misogynistic policy positions, the 2017 Women's March took place the day after Trump was inaugurated as President. The Women’s March was the largest single-day protest in American history. Crowds of demonstrators convened in cities nationwide for peaceful marches. No arrests were made.

A group of people with their backs to the camera, with pink hats and a banner that says "We will never stop fighting for what's right".

Photo: © Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos


Protesters during the Women's March in Washington DC, 2017. The worldwide protest prompted by Donald Trump's misogynistic policy positions has now become an annual event that advocates for progressive legislation and policy regarding human rights: women's rights, immigration reform, the environment, racial equality, LGBTQ+ rights and more.

Visit the Peace Prize Exhibition


12. desember 2022

Nobel Peace Center, Oslo

Photo: Johannes Granseth / Nobel Peace Center