The website Charter97.org announces laureates of the National Award in the sphere of human rights protection for the year 2018.
This year, the National Human Rights Award named after Viktar Ivashkevich goes to:
The courageous person who challenged the system. Taxi driver Leanid Kulakou has become an activist of the “European Belarus”, and today he participates in all protest actions in Minsk. He is constantly arrested and fined, but continues taking on to the streets to defend Belarusians’ rights. Even when he got his arm fractured in Kurapaty, Leanid Kulakou did not leave his watchkeeping at the people’s memorial. Leanid Kulakou is awarded in the nomination “For Personal Courage”.
Siarhei Piatrukhin and Aliaksandr Kabanau
Bloggers Siarhei Piatrukhin and Aliaksandr Kabanau remain at the forefront of the struggle of Brest residents against the construction of a harmful battery plant in their city. Every week for the whole year, protest actions are held in Brest, and Siarhei Piatrukhin and Aliaksandr Kabanau remain constant and true participants thereof. They are awarded in two nominations: “For Courage in Creativity” and “For Personal Courage”.
The death of conscript soldier Aliaksandr Korzhych in a military unit in Pechy has made the entire country speechless, and revealed the truth about the Belarusian army. Hazing, corruption, stealing, extortions, and murders – all these facts have been uncovered only because Sviatlana Korzhych decided to struggle and achieve fair investigation into her son’s death. She disagrees with either the official “investigation”, or the sentence made by the “puppet court”, and doesn’t believe the false statement that her son allegedly “committed suicide”. This woman’s struggle for the truth is saving the lives of other conscripts. Sviatlana Korzhych is awarded in the nomination “For Personal Courage”.
Blogger NEXTA (Stsiapan Sviatlou)
When independent journalism is being destroyed in the country, it’s bloggers who take the lead. Young video blogger Stsiapan Sviatlou, known as NEXTA, has become a real phenomenon. His bold witty videos are watched by millions of Belarusians today. Although a criminal case has been started against the blogger in Belarus, NEXTA is not afraid of calling things by their proper names, and ridicules the kolkhoz-style dictatorship. Stsiapan Sviatlou is awarded in two nominations - “For Courage in Creativity” and “For Personal Courage”.
The National Human Rights Award was established by Charter’97 in 1998. In different years, the laureates of the award were defenders of the tent camp in the Kastrychnitskaya Square in Minsk in March 2006; political prisoners Ales Bialiatski, Mikalai Statkevich, Aliaksandr Kazulin, Ihar Alinevich, Zmitser Dashkevich, Mikhail Marynich, Pavel Seviarynets, Andrei Kim, Siarhei Parsiukevich, Uladzimir Yaromenak, Eduard Lobau, Vasil Parfiankou; first state leader of the independent Belarus Stanislau Shushkevich; athlete, Muay-Thai World Champion Vital Hurkou; activist of the Belarusian Independent trade Union Alena Zakhozhaya; the faithful participating in the hunger strike for the defense of the temple of the “New Life” Protestant Church; Chair of the Committee of the St. Joseph Parish in Minsk Ivona Matsukevich; human rights defenders Valer Shchukin and Halina Yubka; spouses of the opposition leaders and the journalist who got missing in Belarus Iryna Krasouskaya, Zinaida Hanchar, Sviatlana Zavadzkaya; wife of the former political prisoner Tatsiana Klimava-Leanovich; Popular Artiste of Belarus Zinaida Bandarenka; the Kurapaty defenders; the creative union “Pahonia”; the Belarusian Free Theatre; musical bands “Krambambulia”, “Liapis Trubetskoy” and their leader Siarhei Mikhalok, “N.R.M.”, “Novaye Neba”; the Humanitarian Lyceum named after Yakub Kolas, closed by the authorities; journalists Sviatlana Kalinkina, Andrzei Poczobut, Pavel Mazheika, Mikola Markevich, Viktar Ivashkevich, Liubou Luniova, Yuras Karmanau, Maryna Koktysh, Henadz Barbarych, Yulia Darashkevich; human rights defenders Yana Paliakova and Tatsiana Novikava; trade union leader Henadz Fiadynich; director Anton Tsialezhnikau; Swedish pilots Tomas Mazetti, Per Cromwell and Hannah Frey; political prisoners in the “December 19 case”; the “Vyzvalenne” initiative; the initiative “Students Stand Against”; leader of the legendary rock band “Krama” Ihar Varashkevich; economist Leanid Zlotnikau; former Belarusian political prisoner, founder of the movement “Zubr” and the organization “Krai” Vadzim Kabanchuk; journalist Yahor Martsinovich; human rights defender Leanid Sudalenka; Belsat journalist Volha Chaichyts; founder of Art-Siadziba Pavel Belavus; director Volha Nikalaichyk and other renown civil figures, politicians, and journalists.