The laureates of the 2023 Human Rights Society of Belarus Award have been announced, the Human Rights Center “Viasna” reports. The award ceremony, marking International Human Rights Day, took place in Vilnius on December 10, 2023. The winner of the new category “Human Rights Solidarity of the Year-2023” is Palina Sharenda-Panasiuk, a political prisoner.
The “Human Rights Solidarity” Award is a new nomination. It nominates individuals who have faced repression and pressure this year and/or in previous years for their efforts to promote and/or protect human rights in Belarus.
It is worth reminding that Palina Sharenda-Panasiuk, a mother of two children, has been in prison since January 2021. The activist was accused of insulting Lukashenko and police officers, as well as of threatening to use violence. Palina was sentenced to two years in prison.
Two winners were announced in the “Human Rights Defender of the Year-2023” nomination: Aleh Aheyeu, Deputy Chairman of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, and lawyer Natallia Matskevich. Aliaksandr Mantsevich, the politically imprisoned editor-in-chief of the “Regional Newspaper”, was announced as the “Journalist of the Year-2023”. The BYSOL evacuation service was awarded the “Human Rights Campaign/Initiative of the Year-2023”.
Belarusian diasporas held solidarity rallies with Belarusian political prisoners in Free Belarus Square in Bialystok on the same day. The actions coincide with International Human Rights Day and the 75th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.