November 29, 2023


Українська світова інформаційна мережа | Ukrainian Worldwide Information Network


2 min read

A brilliant speech by the first-ever Ukrainian Nobel Peace Prize Winner, human rights activist Oleksandra Matviichuk! I got shivers listening to it and then reading it. Here are a few ideas from Oksana’s speech, but I encourage you to listen to or read the complete version:

“Survivors of the World War II are no longer around. And the new generations began to take rights and freedoms for granted.

“For decades, Russian troops have been committing crimes in different countries. But they always got away with this. The world has not even adequately responded to the act of aggression and annexation of Crimea, which were the first such cases in post-war Europe. Russia believed that they could do whatever they want.”

“People of Ukraine want peace more than anyone else in the world. But peace cannot be reached by country under attack laying down its arms. This would not be peace, but occupation.”
“People’s lives cannot be a “political compromise”. Fighting for peace does not mean yielding to pressure of the aggressor, it means protecting people from its cruelty.”

“In this war, we are fighting for freedom in every meaning of the word. And for it, we are paying the highest possible price”

“This is not a war between two states, it is a war of two systems – authoritarianism and democracy”

“The UN system, created after the World War II by its winners, provides for some unjustified indulgences for individual countries. If we don’t want to live in the world where rules are set by states with stronger military capabilities, this has to be changed.”

“Voices of millions of people from different countries can change world history faster than interventions of the UN. “

“Dictators are afraid that the idea of freedom will prevail. This is why Russia is trying to convince the whole world that the rule of law, human rights and democracy are fake values. Because they do not protect anyone in this war. “

“We have to establish an international tribunal and bring Putin, Lukashenko and other war criminals to justice. “

“We need a new humanist movement that would work with meanings, educate people, build grass-root support and engage people in the protection of rights and freedoms. This movement should unite intellectuals and activists from different countries, because the ideas of freedom and human rights are universal and have no state borders.”

“And since this Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony takes place during the war, I will allow myself to reach out to people around the world and call for solidarity. You don’t have to be Ukrainians to support Ukraine. It is enough just to be humans.”

Yaroslav Azhniuk

The Speech’s text in different languages.

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