Ales Bialiatski, Paweł Wlodkowic Prize holder: System based on coercion has no future

The Belarusian human rights defender has got the Paweł Włodkovic Prize from Poland’s ombudsman.

“This prize is not only my personal, it is a sign of solidarity for all Belarusians who want Belarus to be a free and democratic country,” he said.

The Paweł Włodkowic prize was firstly awarded in 2006. It is of honorary nature and is presented annually as an expression of recognition of defending fundamental values and truths, even against the opinion and views of the majority. It is the first time the prize has been given to a non-citizen of Poland.

Belarus is not Lukashenka

Irena Lipowicz, Poland’s ombudsman, handed the award to Bialiatski. The decision to give the prize to the Belarusian human rights defender was unanimous, she stressed.

Robert Tyszkiewicz, a Polish MP and Chair to the Foreign Affairs Commission, made a speech at the ceremony.

“When Belarus is mentioned a lot of us think of one man, Aliaksandr Lukashenka – an authoritarian leader who came into power 20 years ago, who is responsible for human rights violation in Belarus, who has a direct bearing on abridging freedom of citizens in this country. I want a quite different image to arise – the image of a European country, of dignified and brave people who are fighting against the regime, the people who have the guts to challenge the regime and fight, such people as Ales Bialiatski,” the politician said.

Ales Bialiatski thanked Poland for their help and solidarity with Belarus. According to the former political prisoner, Poland’s support of Belarusian NGOs and independent media – Belsat TV and Radio Racyja- is an example of such backing.

“These are venues with the help of which one can convey the truth to Belarusians, mass media that give a chance to be heard,” he said.

Belarus Is Not Forgotten

Ales Bialiatski told that the situation in Belarus was still important to democratic country although their attention is now focused on eastern Ukraine. “It is all about deterioration in observing human rights in the entire region. It is impossible to improve the situation in one country forgetting about the others in the same region,” he pointed out.

In Belarus there are people who were put in prison for political reasons, he said. That is why this is too early to put an end to the solidarity campaign.


Paweł Włodkowic (born ca. 1370, died in 1435) – scholar, religious and political writer, defender of Polish interests in disputes with the Teutonic Knights. Even at that time he declared the inherency of human rights, e.g. a right to life, which was perceived as absurdity by his contemporaries. He represented Poland against the Teutonic Knights in the arbitration court of Emperor Sigismund of Luxembourg in 1420 in Wrocław and in the papal court in 1421 in Rome.

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