Russia’s Feminist Antiwar Resistance wins human rights award
The Feminist Antiwar Resistance (FAR) has won the 2023 Aachen Peace Prize, sharing the award with Israel’s Human Rights Defenders Fund.
FAR formed the day after Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine and has been leading efforts to protest the war ever since. It is now the biggest antiwar group in Russia, with tens of branches operating outside the country.
The group organises via the social media platform Telegram, where it counts more than 40,000 followers. It facilitates legal and psychological support to activists and people facing threats for speaking up against the war, and produces materials for “anti-lessons” for children and adults, with the aim of dispelling pro-war propaganda.
FAR is also very active outside of Russia. In England, shortly before the coronation of Charles III, the Oxford branch hung up more than 150 posters in the city centre that highlighted the treatment of Ukrainian refugees. The posters featured facts and statistics, including one that read: ‘1 out of 5 platforms associated with sexual trafficking in Europe specifically target displaced Ukrainians’.
Another said: ‘It is their legal obligation under Victims Code, yet police routinely neglect to provide interpreters for victims of sexualised violence who don’t speak English’.
As well as their anti-war stance, FAR sees itself as a new political movement opposed to patriarchal attitudes and advocating tolerance and the pluralization of lifestyles, including support for LGBTQ+ communities.
Russia’s Justice Ministry has included FAR on its list of “foreign agents.”
FAR shares this year’s award with Israel’s Human Rights Defenders Fund (HDFR), formed in 2011 to work non-partisanly for Palestinian and Israeli human rights defenders who are persecuted by the Israeli legal system.
HRDF focuses on activism on the ground, taking a grassroots approach to finding a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and working with the international community to raise global awareness of the situation of human rights defenders in Israel and the occupied territories.
The Aachen Peace Prize was established in 1988 and is presented by a citizens‘ initiative from the people of Aachen in Germany. The winner is not decided by a jury but by the entire Aachen Peace Prize association at a general meeting. The prize comes with €2,000 ($2,204), which will be awarded on World Peace Day on September 1.