Aachen (dpa) – The internationally renowned Charlemagne Prize will be awarded to Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and two other civil rights activists in 2022. Tikhanovskaya as well as Maria Kolesnikova and Veronika Zepkalo will be honoured for their courageous and encouraging commitment to freedom, democracy and the preservation of human rights, the Board of Directors of the International Charlemagne Prize announced. Chairman Jürgen Linden said all three had accepted the prize “with great pleasure”.
Tikhanovskaya wrote on Twitter that she felt “deeply honoured” by the award. The civil rights activist is the face of the opposition to authoritarian ruler Alexander Lukashenko. “This will be a Charlemagne Prize unlike any other in the 71-year history of the prize,” Linden said. The three leading figures of the democratic Belarusian opposition are symbols of the spirit of freedom, he said.
The honour is to be presented on 26 May 2022 in the Coronation Hall of Aachen City Hall. The Charlemagne Prize has been awarded since 1950 for special services to European unification. Previous laureates include former German Chancellor Angela Merkel, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and French President Emmanuel Macron.
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