Viasna wins OSCE Democracy Defender Award
The Human Rights Center “Viasna” has been awarded the OSCE’s annual Democracy Defender Award.
“Proud to announce the recipient of the 2020 #DemocracyDefenderAward: the non-governmental organization Human Rights Center “Viasna” from Belarus, receiving the award for its mission of defending human rights in BY & building a just, free & democratic society for all its citizens,” Sweden’s mission to the OSCE said in a twit.
Chairman of the Human Rights Center "Viasna" Ales Bialiatski noted that the OSCE award is extremely important both for the members of Viasna and for all Belarusian human rights defenders.
“For over 24 years, Viasna has been courageously and steadfastly defending the rights of Belarusian citizens in difficult and unfavorable conditions. The Belarusian authorities deprived us of the state registration in 2003, thus ignoring us, despite the enormous human rights problems that still exist in Belarus. But it does not prevent us from helping and protecting the rights of victims of political repression, people in prisons, representatives of vulnerable groups, from actively opposing the death penalty, fighting for the right to a clean environment, for fair and transparent elections,” Bialiatski said in a comment.
According to Ales Bialiatski, the award is a clear signal to the Belarusian authorities as an incentive to serious reforms in the field of human rights and a substantial improvement of the situation with the rights and freedoms of Belarusian citizens.
“Unless our goals are not achieved, we are not going to give up. The repressions against the Belarusian human rights defenders will not stop our work in support of democracy and human rights in our country. We are grateful to the OSCE member countries that nominated the Human Rights Center "Viasna". We believe that the courageous and persistent efforts by human rights defenders in the OSCE region, in spite of the obstacles, will help make our world a better place,” said Ales Bialiatski.
Earlier, the award was received by the Russian movement "Golos", the Serbian non-governmental organization CRTA, and the Ukrainian activist Oleksandra Matviychuk.
The Democracy Defender Award was established in 2016 with an aim to honor a person or a group for exceptional contributions to the promotion of democracy and the defense of human rights in the spirit of the Helsinki Final Act and other OSCE principles and values.