The new platform (space) was created by the "Viasna" Human Rights Centre (HRC) with the help of the Belarusian House of Human Rights named after Boris Zvozskov (Vilnius).
At the beginning of the event, Ales Bialiatski, the chairman of the HRC "Viasna", noted:
"We are convinced that we, human rights defenders, need to increase our presence in education, culture and enlightenment by continuing the traditions of the great Vasil Bykov, who very highly valued the Declaration, and in whose journalism the topic of human rights and freedoms occupied a significant place.
We hope that the platform will increase the understanding and relevance of human rights in the Belarusian society and will contribute to the goals that were proclaimed in the Declaration."
His Excellency Didier Canesse, the French Ambassador to Belarus, spoke about the Belarusian human rights movement:
"We want to pay tribute to those who struggle for human rights in Belarus. France is with you!"
The Belarusian human rights community has solemnly awarded the laureates of the 10th Annual National Human Rights Prize, which was established in 2008 and is awarded in three categories – "Human Rights Defender of the Year", "Journalist of the Year" and "Campaign/Initiative of the Year".
The host of the event, Anna Gerasimova, the director of the Belarusian Human Rights House, congratulated all those present at the ceremony on the International Human Rights Day, and then went on to announcing the laureates.
The award in the category "Human Rights Defender of the Year" was shared by Olga Smolyanko from the Legal Transformation Centre, and the leaders of the independent REP Trade Union Gennady Fedynich and Igor Komlik. The award was given to them by Raisa Mikhailovskaya, the head of the Belarusian Documentation Centre, the last year's laureate of the award in this nomination.
The nomination "Journalist of the Year" was won by Irina Levshina, the director of the BelaPAN News Agency.
In the nomination "Campaign/Initiative of the Year", the prize was awarded to "Human Rights Defenders against the Death Penalty in Belarus".
The Award is co-run by the Belarusian Association of Journalists, Belarusian Documentation Centre, Belarusian Helsinki Committee, HRC "Viasna", Boris Zvozskov Belarusian Human Rights House, "Solidarity" Committee, Centre for Legal Transformation, Human Rights Alliance, Legal Initiative, and the Public Initiative against Lawlessness at Courts and Prosecutor's Offices.