Pax Christi USA congratulates Memorial on being recognized as the co-recipients of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize. Memorial was honored by Pax Christi International in 2013 with the Pax Christi International Peace Prize for their outstanding work in keeping alive the memory of the victims of political repression in Russia’s recent history and for its deep commitment to human rights in the country.
Alongside human rights advocate Ales Bialiatski from Belarus and the Ukrainian human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties, Memorial was recognized by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee for many years promoting “the right to criticize power and protect the fundamental rights of citizens. They have made an outstanding effort to document war crimes, human right abuses and the abuse of power. Together they demonstrate the significance of civil society for peace and democracy.”
Before its dissolution under threats by the Russian Federation government earlier this year, Memorial was Pax Christi International’s partner in Russia. Pax Christi International supported efforts to aid Memorial after the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office filed a lawsuit in 2021 seeking their dissolution over repeated violations of the country’s legislation on “foreign agents.”
“We are deeply shocked by the intensification of actions by the Russian Federation to silence voices and to dangerously narrow civic space for non-governmental organizations,” Pax Christi International’s 2021 statement read. “Pax Christi International calls on Russia to immediately withdraw the motion to dissolve Memorial International and the Memorial Human Rights Centre. We are mobilizing our members to write to Memorial and to national governments around the world to intercede on Memorial’s behalf.”
The recognition of Memorial’s work by the Nobel Peace Prize Committee is a ringing endorsement of the important work they have done, especially in light of the current Russian invasion of Ukraine. Pax Christi USA celebrates this recognition of Memorial and we are heartened that the Nobel Peace Prize may bolster our colleagues there and all those who suffer under repression for speaking truth to power.