Four years after Ben Ali’s ouster, the same dynamics that radicalised the killers of Paris are present in Tunisia.
The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet – a democracy group – has been awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize for “its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy”, the Norwegian Nobel Committee has announced.
The group of four organisations established “an alternative, peaceful political process at a time when the country was on the brink of civil war”, the committee said on Friday, referring to the period following Tunisia’s 2011 revolution.
The National Dialogue Quartet is made up of four key organisations in Tunisian civil society: the Tunisian General Labour Union; the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts; the Tunisian Human Rights League; and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers.
The jury cited the group for “its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011”.
“The Nobel Peace Prize for 2015 is awarded to this Quartet, not to the four individual organisations as such,” the committee said.
The laureates will receive their prizes at a ceremony in Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of prize creator Alfred Nobel, a Swedish philanthropist and scientist.
A Tunisian union leader who played a key role in democracy-building that won the Nobel Peace Prize says he was “overwhelmed” by the gesture.
Houcine Abassi, secretary-general of the UGTT union, told the AP news agency on Friday: “It’s a prize that crowns more than two years of efforts deployed by the quartet when the country was in danger on all fronts.”
“I am happy,” he said, adding that the quartet members were not expecting the prize.
He described how the UGTT, a human rights group, a trade group, and a lawyers’ group joined together to try to “bring the country out of crisis”.
Al Jazeera’s Nazanine Moshiri, reporting from Tunisia, said: “[It’s] very symbolic for many Tunisians who see this as really a symbol of hope for the country which is going through another crisis.”
Tunisia’s young and still shaky democracy suffered two attacks this year that killed 60 people and devastated the tourism industry.
“More than anything, the prize is intended as an encouragement to the Tunisian people, who despite major challenges, have laid the groundwork for a national fraternity which the committee hopes will serve as an example to be followed by other countries,” the committee said.
The committee said the prize was also intended as an encouragement to other countries to follow in Tunisia’s footsteps.
“The Norwegian Nobel Committee hopes that this year’s prize will contribute towards safeguarding democracy in Tunisia and be an inspiration to all those who seek to promote peace and democracy in the Middle East, North Africa and the rest of the world,” it said.
Tunisian Tourism Minister:
Today the Tunisian people won the nobel prize. I am moved to tears. A long due recognition for an amazing sacrifice and success.
Today the Tunisian people won the nobel price. I am moved to tears. A long due recognition for an amazing sacrifice and success.
— Amel Karboul (@amelkarboul) October 9, 2015
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy:
— Federica Mogherini (@FedericaMog) October 9, 2015
The United Nations:
— United Nations (@UN) October 9, 2015