WITNESS partner, Memorial, named Nobel Peace Prize Laureate

This month, the Russian human rights NGO, Memorial, was named one of 2022’s Nobel Peace Prize laureates. Memorial was founded in 1987 to document Soviet Union era oppression and grew to become the country’s largest and most respected human rights group. 

WITNESS partnered with Memorial in the mid 2000s to co-produce advocacy videos about forced disappearances, extra-judicial killings, and torture committed by the Russian military during the Chechen wars. The videos, “Missing Lives: Disappearances and Impunity in the North Caucasus” and “Crying Sun: The Impact of War in the Mountain of Chechnya,” centered the voices of communities directly impacted by so-called “counter terrorism operations,” and called for accountability.  

Based on our experience with Memorial and many other groups over the past 30 years, we know that frontline witnesses are navigating immense risks as they capture and share video documentation of potential human rights violations and war crimes. 

Building on learnings from these collaborative experiences, we evolved our training model to provide resources and best practices to millions of people. For example, shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, we tailored and began distributing resources for witnessing war in multiple languages. And we continue to support documentation efforts during the protracted conflict. 

Memorial’s decades-long efforts to document abuses by the government against its people led to it being disbanded by the Putin regime last year. But its legacy lives on. And the voices of its leaders, including Nobel Peace Prize laureate Andrei Sakharov and Natalia Estemirova, head of Memorial’s Chechnya office who was murdered in 2009, will not be silenced. 

We thank Memorial for its lasting contribution to the global movement championing video for human rights. 


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