Together with his organisation in Belarus, Viasna Human Rights Centre, which he founded in 1996, Ales has been bringing support to political prisoners and their families. The organisation’s activities have been clearly targeted by the regime of Alexander Lukachenko which accused Ales of fiscal evasion because of the foreign funds the organisation was receiving to operate and ordered to confiscate the offices of the organisation.
« The regime has no shame about targeting Viasna, its members and other human rights organisations in Belarus for their legitimate and necessary activities; and doesn’t hesitate to prosecute them as common law criminals » stated Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. « I hope this prize will remind the international community and particularly European States that there are still regimes nearby who repress their own population in complete impunity », he added.
FIDH also congratulates the other short-listed nominees for this prize, including the 2 other finalists, the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (Georgia) and the Rights Defence Network (China).
The Václav Havel Human Rights Prize is awarded each year by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in partnership with the Václav Havel Library and the Charta 77 Foundation to reward outstanding civil society action in the defence of human rights in Europe and beyond.