Civil rights activists from Belarus honoured

Aachen (dpa) – The International Charlemagne Prize has been awarded in Aachen to the Belarusian opposition leader Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, to Veronica Tsepkalo and to Maria Kalesnikava, who is imprisoned in Belarus. The three women stand for democratic development in the authoritarian-ruled country and are being honoured for their courageous commitment to freedom, democracy and the upholding of human rights. 

When the laureates were chosen at the end of 2021, the current developments could not have been foreseen, said Jürgen Linden, Chair of the Charlemagne Prize Board. The Charlemagne Prize has been awarded since 1950 for services to Europe and European unification. It is named after Charlemagne, who is considered the first unifier of Europe and who often stayed in Aachen. Laureates include Angela Merkel, Pope Francis, Emmanuel Macron, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. Germany’s Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock gave the laudatory speech.

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