The Nobel Prize Committee awarded the 2022 Peace Prize to the Ukrainian human rights organization, Center for Civil Liberties. The prize was also awarded to the Belarusian human rights advocate, Ales Bialiatski, and the Russian historical, educational, and human rights society, Memorial. What is the CCL and what does it do in Ukraine?
The Ukrainian Nobel Prize laureate: what the Center for Civil Liberties is
The Center for Civil Liberties is a civic organization created by human rights advocate Oleksandra Matviichuk in 2007. It monitors and analyzes draft laws from the perspective of human rights observance and monitors the activities of law enforcement agencies, courts, and local authorities.
Among other activities of the CCL are public control over the investigation of crimes committed during the Euromaidan revolution and documentation of persecution in Russian-occupied Crimea, as well as human rights violations and war crimes in the occupied part of Donbass.
The CCL sees its mission as promoting values in Ukraine and Eurasia, such as:
- human rights;
- solidarity for the affirmation of human dignity.
The 2022 Nobel Peace Prize isn’t the only award won by the CCL. In May 2022, they have already been granted the 2022 Democracy Award.
Euromaidan SOS and Let My People Go by the Center for Civil Liberties
Besides human rights schools and the protection of human rights in Ukraine and Eurasia in general, the Center for Civil Liberties is known for the "Human Rights Offside" informational campaign for the Euro-2012 European Football Championship in Ukraine.
The most famous initiatives launched by the CCL were the OZON Civic Monitoring Group, created in 2013, which monitors peaceful assemblies and court proceedings, and Euromaidan SOS, founded after the dispersal of a student demonstration in Independence Square on November 30, 2013. The organization still helps protest participants who suffered persecution throughout Ukraine.
In 2014–2015, the Center for Civil Liberties submitted to the International Criminal Court evidence of crimes committed by Viktor Yanukovych's regime during the Revolution of Dignity and also participated in mobile monitoring groups in Crimea and Donbas.
In 2015–2016, the organization launched the Let My People Go campaign aimed at the release of Ukrainian political prisoners detained either in Russia or in the temporarily occupied Crimea. It was then that the CCL released a documentary titled "Euromaidan SOS. The Right to Dignity" about the people who created the first large-scale volunteer initiative in Ukraine.
Euromaidan SOS. The Right to Dignity: a documentary about Ukrainian volunteers [video]
Basements of Donbas, Sentsov, and Tribunal for Putin
In 2016–2019, the center cooperated with The Farm 51, a Polish IT team, to create a VR film about the basements of Donbas, where Russian invaders tortured and killed Ukrainians. The CCL also rallied in support of victims of sexual violence during wartime and launched the #SaveOlegSentsov campaign to free Oleh Sentsov, which was later renamed #PrisonersVoice.
In addition, the CCL helped harmonize Ukrainian criminal law with the international one and the concept of the second wave of judicial reform.
In 2020, the Center for Civil Liberties initiated the #BelarusWatch international action of solidarity with the protests in Belarus, and in 2022 it created a number of initiatives, including the motivational video project "Human Rights Activists at War", which cover the lives of Ukrainian human rights activists during a full-scale war.
Oleh Martynenko, a human rights activist who left everything behind and enlisted in the Ukrainian army [video]
In addition, the CCL has developed an interactive map of enforced disappearances in Ukraine, documenting abducted human rights advocates, journalists, civic activists, and members of local authorities.
The organization has also joined the global initiative "Breaking the Vicious Circle of Russia's Impunity for Its War Crimes", also known as "Tribunal for Putin", and is helping to document genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed by Russia against Ukraine after the full-scale invasion of February 24, 2022, to submit them to international agencies and courts.