Tunisia’s Nobel Peace Prize winners have set a global example that conflict can be avoided though dialogue and tolerance, the Nobel committee said.
The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet received the prize on Thursday.
At the awards ceremony in Oslo City Hall, Tunisian labor union leader Houcine Abassi expressed the group’s sorrow and anger at recent “terrorist acts” that killed and injured hundreds. This year, two major assaults on tourists in Tunisia killed 22 people at the Bardo Museum in the capital, Tunis, and 38 at a resort near Sousse reported AP.
He said the group’s “feeling of euphoria and pride does not obscure the grief, sorrow and anger” they feel about recent violent events, including “Sousse, the Bardo Museum, Beirut, Paris, Sharm el-Sheikh and Bamako (with) scenes of barbaric and heinous terrorist acts.”
Abassi said the world was “most in need to make the fight against terrorism an absolute priority, which means perseverance on the coordination and cooperation between all nations.”
He was one of the four members of organizations, representing unions, industry, trade and human rights in Tunisia, which helped build democracy in the violence-torn country after the 2011 revolution.
The others who were in the Norwegian capital to fetch the award were Mohammed Fadhel Mafoudh, head of the bar association; Abdessatar Ben Moussa, president of the human rights group and Wided Bouchamaoui, the head of the employers’ association.
Norwegian Nobel Committee Chairwoman Kaci Kullmann Five cited the group for “its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy” following Tunisia’s 2011 revolution that overthrew its longtime authoritarian president.
Addressing the audience of 1,000 people, including royalty, government members, and foreign dignitaries, Kullmann Five described as “dramatic” the narrative behind this year’s peace prize.
“It speaks to the core of Alfred Nobel’s will and Nobel’s vision of fraternity, disarmament, and peace-building forums,” she said. “Against a backdrop of unrest and war … (their) resolute intervention helped to halt the spiraling violence and put developments on a peaceful track,” after the summer of 2013 when Tunisia was on the brink of civil war.
She said the $960,000 prize was for the quartet as a whole, not for the four individual organizations. It is made up of: the Tunisian General Labor Union; the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts; the Tunisian Human Rights League; and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers, the country’s bar association.
The peace prize was the first Nobel award presented at ceremonies always held on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel’s death in 1896.