WASHINGTON, D.C. — On June 22, 2021, Atlas Network announced that Students For Liberty has won the 2021 Europe Liberty Award for the #FreeBelarus campaign, dedicated to raising awareness about the ongoing violence and injustice in the nation and supporting SFL’s activist, Piotr Markiełaŭ.
The award winner was announced at the Europe Liberty Forum, held virtually on June 22-23, 2021.
“Students For Liberty has always supported me in my activities. During my battle against the regime, I felt the SFL family was always there for me. The last 12 months have become the darkest time in the history of Belarus. The country hasn’t seen such a large scale of political repression since Stalin. Since 2020, around twenty thousand people have been found guilty in administrative cases for taking part in protests. There are more than three thousand political prisoners, and many of them have already spent a year in custody and were sentenced from five to eight years in prison for no reason at all” ― said Piotr Markiełaŭ.
Piotr is a distinctive figure at protests in Belarus. Even though the Belarusian government has continued to target him with multiple arrests for his activism, he’s undeterred. He has continued to fight back peacefully against the oppressive government. Getting arrested while demanding the release of political prisoners, and again while protesting election fraud, has forced him to pay many fines and sacrifice over two months cumulatively in prison.
“Piotr is a liberty activist who has stood against the dictatorship – his stance has inspired people across Belarus and Europe and the world” ― said Dr. Tom G. Palmer, Atlas Network’s executive vice president of international programs. “Students For Liberty’s innovative media campaign reached over seven million people and gained the support of numerous European Parliament members and governments of the European Union, Canada, the U.K., and the U.S. to put sanctions on key individuals who are involved in the regime’s repressive actions.”
Students For Liberty has supported Piotr and his friends’ fight for freedom for years and will continue to do so. This is just one example of why we fight for freedom of expression around the world.
The Liberty Award is an element of the Templeton Freedom Award Prize program, which annually recognizes think tanks that have made important contributions to the understanding of free enterprise, and that have advanced public policy to secure liberty to innovate, prosper, and flourish. The Europe Liberty Award is generously supported by the Templeton Religion Trust.
The other finalists for Atlas Network’s 2021 Europe Liberty Award were Mark Littlewood from the Institute of Economic Affairs in the U.K. for their project “Britain Unlimited,” and Roxana Nicula from The Foundation for the Advancement of Liberty (Fundalib) in Spain for their project “Private Healthcare Saves Lives.”
Students For Liberty is proud to partner with Atlas Network in advancing freedom and prosperity around the globe. To learn more about our students’ activism around the globe by clicking on the button below.