The President of the European Parliament has just announced the Laureate of the 2020 Sakharov Prize: the democratic opposition in Belarus, represented by the Coordination Council. The Coordination Council is an initiative of brave women – Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Svetlana Alexievich, Maryia Kalesnikava, Volha Kavalkova and Veranika Tsapkala, and political and civil society figures Siarhei Tsikhanouski, Ales Bialiatski, Siarhei Dyleuski, Stsiapan Putsila and Mikola Statkevich.
Starting in August 2020 after the Belarusian presidential elections that were marred by allegations of widespread fraud, the democratic opposition in Belarushas fought for democracy by mobilising society in peaceful mass protests. Lukashenka’s regime has responded with an unprecedented level of violence and repression, but Belarusian society has not given up and continues to protest, despite many of the opposition leaders having been imprisoned or exiled.
The Sakharov Prize: European Parliament recognition to freedom of thought
Awarded for the first time in 1988 to Nelson Mandela and Anatoli Marchenko, the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought is the highest tribute paid by the European Union to human rights work. Each year, it gives recognition to individuals, groups and organisations that have made an outstanding contribution to protecting freedom of thought.
The Democratic Opposition in Belarus will be awarded with the 2020 Sakharov Prize on 16 December during the European Parliament’s Plenary. If you would like to know more about their actions, you can visit the Sakharov webpage.
ECF stand in solidarity with people of Belarus
As European Civic Forum, we watched all these demonstrations in Belarus in grief and disbelief. We stand in solidarity with brave Belarussian men and women in their hopes for freedom and dignity. We especially praise the role played by non-violently protesting women. We also express our indignation against the brutal actions of the military and the police, and our solidarity with all those who have so painfully experienced them.