On 30-31 January, representatives of the three Nobel Peace Prize 2022 initiatives will visit Barcelona and Madrid in a delegation organized by ICIP and NOVACT.

The delegation will consist of Oleksandra Romantsova, executive director of the Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine); Natallia Satsunkevich, member of the Interim Board of the Viasna Human Rights Center (Belarus); and Alexander Cherkasov, chair of the Board of the Memorial Human Rights Center (Russia).  These three civil society initiatives – one individual and two collectives – were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last October for their work in reporting war crimes and defending peace and human rights.

To mark the occasion of their visit, on 30 January, School Day of Nonviolence and Peace, the Parliament of Catalonia will host the first Conference on Peace organized in collaboration with ICIP and Lafede.cat.

“The Catalan social entities and institutions that work for the promotion of peace, together with the Parliament of Catalonia, are especially pleased to present the work of these three entities as part of the first Conference on Peace organized by the Catalan chamber,” declared ICIP director Kristian Herbolzheimer.

Oleksandra Romantsova, Alexander Cherkasov and Natallia Satsunkevich

The conference will consist of two roundtables.  The first one, Peacebuilding alternatives for a paradigm shift: Contributions of Catalan organizations, will feature five representatives of Lafede.cat’s peace work area.  They will talk about the challenges of peacebuilding concerning the evolution of armed conflicts and the interrelation between the concepts of peace and security.  And they will also present proposals for a Catalan public policy for peace.

The second panel, entitled Civil society facing war and authoritarian regimes: Ukraine, Russia and Belarus, will feature the participation of the representatives of the three initiatives awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Gabriela Serra, president of the Catalan Council for the Promotion of Peace, and Pere Aragonès, president of the Government of Catalonia, will close the conference.

The event will begin at 4 pm and is open to the public.  To attend this event, prior registration at the Parliament’s website is required before the deadline of 25 January.

On the same day, 30 January, the delegation from the three countries is expected to meet with various representatives of Catalan institutions, including a meeting with the president of the Government of Catalonia and with the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau.

Visit and activities in Madrid

On 31 January, following the events in Barcelona, the delegation will travel to Madrid, where they will participate in various meetings with government representatives and address the Congress of Deputies.  An event organized by the Coordinating Committee of Development Organizations and open to the public will occur in the afternoon.  This event will be held at Casa Encendida at 6:30 pm and will feature the participation of representatives of the Nobel Peace Prize laureates as well as the researcher Felip Daza.  Daza is the author of the report entitled Ukrainian nonviolent civil resistance in the face of war, published by ICIP and NOVACT.  This document analyzes a total of 235 actions of nonviolent civil resistance displayed in an interactive map. It includes a set of recommendations addressed to governments and Ukrainian and international civil society to strengthen nonviolence to transform the conflict.

“These activities aim to raise awareness of the key role that these three entities are playing.  Over the last few years, they have promoted the role of protest, documenting war crimes, human rights violations and abuses of power.  Their work is an important example of the significant role that civil society can and must play in preventing crises and building peace,” says NOVACT director Luca Gervasoni.

Biographies of the representatives of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize laureates

Oleksandra Romantsova is the Center for Civil Liberties (Ukraine) executive director.  She coordinates the management of war crimes documentation and promotion of the results of this documentation as part of the “Tribunal for Putin” global initiative.  She participates in field missions around Ukraine.

Natallia Satsunkevich is a member of the Interim Board of the Human Rights Center of Viasna (Belarus).  The Nobel Prize was awarded to the President of Viasna, Ales Bialiatski, currently imprisoned by the regime of Aleksandr Lukashenko.  As part of the legal aid team, Satsunkevich helps victims of human rights violations to obtain reparations.  She is currently undergoing criminal proceedings in Belarus due to her political activism.

Alexander Cherkasov is the chair of the Board of the Memorial Human Rights Center (Russia).  Memorial has been documenting human rights abuses in Chechnya and assisting victims since the beginning of the armed conflict in 1994.  It later expanded its work to neighbouring republics as human rights abuses spread to the broader North Caucasus region.