Nobel Peace Prize for Tunisian civil organizations

The award was given to the Tunisian quartet ‘for its decisive contribution to building a pluralistic democracy’

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Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet on Friday won the Nobel Peace Prize for building democracy after the 2011 revolution which unleashed a wave of popular uprisings across the Arab world.

The award was given “for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.”

The quartet include: Tunisian general union for labor UGTT, Tunisian Union for Industry and Commerce (Union of Investors), Tunisian League for Human Rights Defense and Tunisian Union for Lawyers.

“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,” a statement from the Nobel Committee read.

“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,” it added.

Watch the announcement here: [Starting from 31 min mark]

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated the quartet for winning the Nobel Peace Prize, saying their work was an inspiration to the region and the world.

"The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet offers hope that serious political challenges can be overcome through dialogue and consensual politics," Ban said in a statement.

"Their example is an inspiration to the region and the world."

"This recognition belongs to all those who gave birth to the Arab Spring and are striving to safeguard the sacrifices of so many," he said.

The head of a labor union within the quartet said the prize is a "tribute to martyrs of a democratic Tunisia."

"This effort by our youth has allowed the country to turn the page on dictatorship," said Houcine Abassi, secretary general of the UGTT, part of the National Dialogue Quartet that was recognised for building democracy after the 2011 revolution.

U.S. President Barack Obama congratulated the winners, saying the prize is a tribute to the nation's courage.

"Today's award is therefore also a tribute to the perseverance and courage of the Tunisian people who, in the face of political assassinations and terrorist attacks, have come together in a spirit of unity, compromise and tolerance," Obama said in a statement.

Obama stressed that "in a region gripped by so much tumult and violence, Tunisia points the way to a better future -- one in which stability is pursued through peaceful dialogue, not violence and division."

French President Francois Hollande said the prize was a reward for Tunisia’s successful transition to democracy.

"The Nobel rewards the success of the democratic transition in Tunisia," Hollande said.

The EU also hailed Tunisia's national dialogue mediators, saying they had shown North Africa and Middle East a democratic path out of turmoil.

"The Nobel Peace Prize to the National Dialogue Quartet in Tunisia shows the way out of the crises in the region: national unity and democracy," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini tweeted.

(with AFP)

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