Ales Bialiatski awarded Per Anger Prize
In his speech he said that Per Angers example is very important for Belarus.
- During the last few years I have had an acute feeling that we are living in a very crucial time for the Belarusian people, the time that may determine its fate for many years on.
We experienced something similar at the beginning of the 20th century when the Russian Empire collapsed, and Belarus claimed her right for independence for the first time.
Since the collapse of the Soviet totalitarian monster, the Belarusian people keep supporting democracy-oriented way of development.
This way is based on the principles declared in the 1960s by Andrey Sakharov:
- democratic election system;
- pluralism of opinions;
- freedom of promulgation of information;
- respect for human rights.
After 1994 Belarus appeared under control of a dictator and a populist who in 1996 committed a violent take-over he changed the Constitution and concentrated absolute authority in his hands.
Since then Belarus has been gradually turning into a USSR-style state, with harassment of dissent and civil society, Stalins and Dzerzhinskys cult, oppressive ideology, so called market socialism and a terrible concept of external enemy.
However, more and more people speak and act against totalitarianism. They want to live in a free and democratic country.
A new society is being born, for I see no fear in the peoples eyes I see hope for eventual changes.
All these events are witnessed by the Belarusian human rights activists, who try to help those who suffer from the regimes oppression. We also pay a lot of attention to collecting and distributing of information on human rights violations in Belarus, since absence of alternative information is one of the most serious problems of contemporary Belarus.
We understand the scale of our work a change of authority will not immediately result in fundamental social changes. Realization of the concept of the value of each individual is our basic goal for the years to come.
Do we believe in what we do? Absolutely, yes. I am convinced that the Lukashenka regime will not be able to suppress Spring in the minds and hearts of our people.
It is a great honor for me to receive Per Anger Prize, because his activity in saving hopeless people at war is filled with courage and patriotism. These qualities are a must for Belarusian human rights activists.
I view this award as a sign of Swedens concern in Belarusian problems.
The award proves the propriety of my personal choice. I am grateful to the jury, Per Angers relatives and the Swedish Helsinki Committee which has been our close partner for many years.
I am also here to say that we, together with Tatsiana Raviaka, who is being awarded Anna Lindh Award today, have decided to organize a fund of aid to Belarusian human rights activists, which is to help those of them who have suffered from repressions. The majority of the award's sum is to constitute the Fund.