The Russian human rights organization Memorial, which won the Nobel Peace Prize, is now also losing its headquarters in Moscow following its dissolution. A court in the Russian capital on Friday handed the building over to the Russian state in a proceeding criticized as politically motivated. Memorial announced that it would continue its fight for human rights and celebrate the Nobel Prize.
The Nobel Committee also gave the award to Belarusian human rights lawyer Ales Byalyatski and the Ukrainian Center for Civil Liberties. "We are grateful to the Nobel Committee for this honorable award," said Memorial in the evening after hours of wrestling with the judiciary for its headquarters. The judiciary had dissolved the organization last year.
Despite the pressure from the authorities, the work should continue “under all circumstances” – following the example of founding father Andrei Sakharov, Memorial said. The physicist Sakharov, also known as the inventor of the Soviet hydrogen bomb, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1975.
"Memorial's idea and mission are people, history, help for the victims of repression, the fight against state violence," the statement said. "Memorial - it's a network, it's people, it's a movement." The work is ongoing in Russia and Ukraine and in other countries. Like other Russian civil rights organizations, Memorial is currently experiencing “strong pressure”. "But it is not possible to forbid memory and freedom."
Memorial thinks of Byalyatsky imprisoned in Belarus, as well as other political prisoners in the country and colleagues working in Ukraine under the conditions of the Russian war of aggression. The Nobel Peace Prize comes at a time when Russia is waging a war of conquest in Ukraine and is destroying rights and freedoms in its own country. That is a danger to the world.
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