On September 25, 2012 on behalf of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to Poland Lee A. Feinstein presented the 2011 Human Rights Defenders Award for Ales Bialiatski to his wife, Natalya Pinchuk. The ceremony took place at the residence of the U.S. Ambassador.
Ales Bialiatski is currently a political prisoner in Belarus, where he is serving a four and a half-year sentence for his efforts to defend human rights and promote democracy. Ambassador Lee Feinstein read a message from Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton recognizing Mr. Bialiatski for his achievements, commitment, and courage.
About Ales BialiatskiAles Bialiatski is currently serving a four-and-a-half year prison sentence for his selfless activism on behalf of human rights and democracy in Belarus. The government of Belarus has committed serious human rights violations, including restrictions on the fundamental freedoms of speech, assembly, and media, as well as harassment of civil society organizations and human rights defenders. This has only intensified since the crack-down on peaceful protests following the December 2010 presidential election. Mr. Bialiatski has aided thousands of victims of political repression and their families despite government threats and at great personal risk. He and his human rights organization, Viasna, pushed for structural changes in Belarus, monitored government abuses, and provided legal and practical support to victims of human rights violations. Refusing to be intimidated by a hostile government, Mr. Bialiatski ’s personal vision, commitment, and extraordinary courage in supporting civic activism and defending the rights of the repressed has inspired human rights advocates around the world. About the Human Rights Defenders Award The United States Department of State Human Rights Defenders Award recognizes individuals or non-governmental organizations who show exceptional valor and leadership in advocating for the protection of human rights and democracy in the face of government repression. In 2011, the State Department awarded the Human Rights Defenders Award to the Ugandan Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law and Belarusian human rights activist Ales Bialiatski.