15 OCTOBER 2015
|NOBEL PRIZE TRIBUTE TO TUNISIAN PEOPLE
The Nobel Peace Prize 2015, perhaps the first ever to an active civic grass root movement, signals an international appreciation of the sacrifice offered by the Tunisian people.
Particularly over the last five years, individual men and women -- remember the role of women -- vividly displayed their determination to defend the dignity of life and the values of their
country. While they have gone through very difficult times, their natural human instincts prevailed over attempts to fragment them or instigate them against one another; they kept their
focus on a free democratic, dynamic Tunis.
As we reproduce the full text of the Nobel Prize Committee, we recall the words of the great Tunisian poet, Abul Qasim Al-Chabi:
"If the people are determined to gain their free life, destiny will definitely respond."
Following is the announcement:
The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2015 is to be awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for its decisive contribution to the building of a
pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011. The Quartet was formed in the summer of 2013 when the democratization process was in danger of collapsing as a
result of political assassinations and widespread social unrest. It established an alternative, peaceful political process at a time when the country was on the brink of civil war. It was
thus instrumental in enabling Tunisia, in the space of a few years, to establish a constitutional system of government guaranteeing fundamental rights for the entire population,
irrespective of gender, political conviction or religious belief.
The National Dialogue Quartet has comprised four key organizations in Tunisian civil society: the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT, Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail), the
Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA, Union Tunisienne de l'Industrie, du Commerce et de l'Artisanat), the Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH, La Ligue
Tunisienne pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme), and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers (Ordre National des Avocats de Tunisie). These organizations represent different sectors and values in
Tunisian society: working life and welfare, principles of the rule of law and human rights. On this basis, the Quartet exercised its role as a mediator and driving force to advance
peaceful democratic development in Tunisia with great moral authority. The Nobel Peace Prize for 2015 is awarded to this Quartet, not to the four individual organizations as such.
The Arab Spring originated in Tunisia in 2010-2011, but quickly spread to a number of countries in North Africa and the Middle East. In many of these countries, the struggle for
democracy and fundamental rights has come to a standstill or suffered setbacks. Tunisia, however, has seen a democratic transition based on a vibrant civil society with demands for
respect for basic human rights.
An essential factor for the culmination of the revolution in Tunisia in peaceful, democratic elections last autumn was the effort made by the Quartet to support the work of the
constituent assembly and to secure approval of the constitutional process among the Tunisian population at large. The Quartet paved the way for a peaceful dialogue between the citizens,
the political parties and the authorities and helped to find consensus-based solutions to a wide range of challenges across political and religious divides. The broad-based national
dialogue that the Quartet succeeded in establishing countered the spread of violence in Tunisia and its function is therefore comparable to that of the peace congresses to which Alfred
Nobel refers in his will.
The course that events have taken in Tunisia since the fall of the authoritarian Ben Ali regime in January 2011 is unique and remarkable for several reasons. Firstly, it shows that
Islamist and secular political movements can work together to achieve significant results in the country's best interests. The example of Tunisia thus underscores the value of dialogue
and a sense of national belonging in a region marked by conflict. Secondly, the transition in Tunisia shows that civil society institutions and organizations can play a crucial role in a
country’s democratization, and that such a process, even under difficult circumstances, can lead to free elections and the peaceful transfer of power. The National Dialogue Quartet must
be given much of the credit for this achievement and for ensuring that the benefits of the Jasmine Revolution have not been lost.
Tunisia faces significant political, economic and security challenges. 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. 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.
Oslo, 10 October 2015