by Miceál O’Hurley
DUBLIN – Diplomacy in Ireland – The European Diplomat would like to announce a further award of the Diplomatic Service Medal with Honours. The Awards Committee has unanimously agreed to recognise the bravery, determination, leadership, democratic commitment and devotion to human rights of Mrs. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskay, the elected President of Belarus (in exile). The conferral of the Eleanor Roosevelt ‘Four Freedoms Award’ and the Diplomatic Service Medal with Valour will take place in December for her defense of Freedom of speech; Freedom of worship; Freedom from want; and, Freedom from fear. The concept of the ‘Four Freedoms’ became part of the personal mission undertaken by First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt regarding her inspiration behind the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, General Assembly Resolution 217A.
A second award of the Diplomatic Service Medal with Valour will be presented to the Coordination Council for the Transfer of Power on behalf of all political prisoners, journalists and activists illegally detained under cruel and oppressive conditions by the Lukashenko regime.
An English teacher and interpreter by training, mother of two small children, and spouse of activist Sergei Tsikhanovsky, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya stepped forward at a pivotal time in Belarus’ evolution towards freedom and democracy and stood as a candidate for election to the Presidency after her husband was arrested on 29 May2020. Despite threats of sexual violence, death and the removal of her children to State run orphanages, Mrs. Tsikhanouskaya persevered, standing as a beacon of hope for the people of Belarus seeking to throw-off decades of dictatorship, corruption and repression. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya won the election with a plurality of the votes of the Belarusian people only to have the election stolen by the incumbent regime led by Alexander Lukashenko. Forced to flee her beloved Belarus, Mrs. Tsikhanouskaya ensured her children were safely out of the country and continues to campaign for the establishment of a democratic government by and for the people of Belarus, the release of all political prisoners, journalists and activists, including her husband who is still detained. In raising her voice for the world to hear, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya has proven herself a woman of deep convictions, devotion to her fellow Belarusian people, committed to the principles of democracy and for the observation of fundamental human rights for all people. For these and a multitude of other reasons, Her Excellency Mrs. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will be conferred with the Eleanor Roosevelt ‘Four Freedoms Award’ and Diplomatic Service Medal with Valour.
Award of Medal in Recognition of Political Prisoners, Journalists and Activists Detained in Belarus
A second, ‘symbolic’ conferral of the Diplomatic Service Medal with Valour will be presented to the Coordination Council for the Transfer of Power on behalf of the political prisoners, journalists and activists who have been illegally detained by the Lukashenko regime, suffering immeasurable hardships, torture and rape. As confirmed by a statement by the United Nations Human Rights Office on 1 September 2020, more than 450 documented cases of torture and ill-treatment of detainees, as well as reports of sexual abuse and rape at the hands of the Lukashenko regime have been catalogued. By the end of 2020, the Viasna Human Rights centre documented the testimony of more than 1,000 individual torture victims. The sacrifice of all those who suffer for the democratic evolution of Belarus is deserving of recognition and for this reason they will collectively be honoured with the Diplomatic Service Medal with Valour in the 2021 Diplomacy in Ireland – The European Diplomat Awards.
About the Diplomatic Service Medal
The Diplomatic Service Medal is struck as a medallion suspended from a bar and ribbon of blue and yellow reflecting the colours adopted by the European Union of which Ireland is an integral member. Burnished silver in colour, the medal depicts Nike, the goddess of victory surrounded by the eleven of the twelve stars of the European Union signifying that the work of the European Union and diplomats everywhere is never complete. Tradition holds that Nike represents the mythic gods as the embodiment of victory in both war and peaceful competition. As uniquely depicted on the Diplomatic Service Medal, the goddess Nike, faithful to the foundational commission of diplomats, is rendered without her sword associated with military might and instead holds aloft the torch of truth, knowledge and service lit with the flame of wisdom in her left hand while in her right she embraces the laurel wreath of peace.
The Diplomatic Service Awards are an annual event hosted by Diplomacy in Ireland – The European Diplomat. The Certificate and Medal are of exceptional design depicting the victory of diplomacy over conflict. The awards are conferred by the Editor and the Awards Chairperson each December.
Two Types of Awards for Diplomacy, International Relations, Research, Teaching & Service
The Diplomatic Service Award is a certificate that can be awarded to individuals who merit special recognition owing to their exceptional contributions of service in the fields of diplomacy, foreign affairs or international relations, in research or teaching in the academy, or in distinguished service rendered to diplomats. When the Diplomatic Service Award is conferred it is done so by means of a certificate describing the acts that merit the award.
The Diplomatic Service Medal is a medal struck in metal suspended from a clasp and ribbon. It may be conferred upon those who serve in the domestic or foreign services, holding diplomatic rank, or those who have rendered exceptional service to diplomats and the cause of diplomacy. When the Diplomatic Service Medal is conferred it is accompanied by a certificate describing the reason for the award of the medal.
Medal Conferral Categories
Diplomatic Service Medal with Honours – This category is deferred solely upon those holding the dignity of Ambassadorial or Ministerial rank, or by those who discharged the rank of Chargé d’Affaires. It appears with a silver oak leaf device attached to the ribbon to denote the special dignity for which the medal was awarded. The medal is accompanied by a Certificate describing the reasons for the medal being conferred.
Diplomatic Service Medal – The medal suspended from the ribbon is awarded to all other recipients of the medal accompanied by a Certificate describing the reasons for the medal being conferred.
Diplomatic Service Medal with Valour Device – If any recipient is presented with the award for having exhibited exceptional valour in diplomatic service for the betterment of humanity, or the safety of civilians, which merits the award of the Diplomatic Service Medal with Valour. In this instance, a ‘V’ device surrounded by a laurel wreath is attached to the ribbon to denote this rare and special distinction. The medal is accompanied by a Certificate describing the reasons for the medal being conferred.
Diplomatic Service Award – Those whose contributions are deserving of recognition may be awarded the Diplomatic Service Award – Certificate of Recognition.
Conferral of Medals and Awards
Annual December Awards – The Diplomatic Service Medals and Awards are generally presented annually in December. However, the medal or award may be awarded at any time by a decision of the Editor and Awards Chairperson.
Comments from Editor-in-Chief Miceál O’Hurley
“It is with great pride that I can convey the unanimous conclusion of the Awards Committee that Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will be honoured with the Eleanor Roosevelt ‘Four Freedoms’ Award and the Diplomatic Service Medal with Valour in the 2021 Awards,” said O’Hurley. “I had the honour of interviewing Sviatlana earlier this year and her passion to lift her fellow Belarusian people out of the misery of which they suffer under the brutal Lukashenko regime is simply awe inspiring. There can be no question that she deserves to be recognised for her fight for democracy, freedom and human rights which stands as a beacon of hope for all people of the world,” concluded O’Hurley.
Comments from Awards Chairperson Oksana Shadrina
“History has recorded how ordinary people have risen to the occasion throughout the annals of time to achieve great things,” said Shadrina. “Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya will be recorded as being one of those people. Her personal courage, commitment to fundamental human rights and the liberation of the Belarusian people from an oppressive tyranny continues, unabated and I believe will endure until all political prisoners, journalists and activists are freed from unjust and cruel detention and Belarus can join the sorority of free nations where fear is a thing of the past. We honour her for her leadership and determination,” Shadrina commented.
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For More Information Contact:
Miceál O’Hurley, Editor-in-Chief
Diplomacy in Ireland – The European Diplomat
Telephone: (086) 107 0017 or (01) 254 4747