Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has won the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 for his “resolute efforts” to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end. The war, the Committee said, has cost the lives of at least 2,20000 Colombians and displaced close to six million people. “The award should also be seen as a tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace, and to all the parties who have contributed to the peace process. This tribute is paid, not least, to the representatives of the countless victims of the civil war,” the Committee said. We take a look at five facts and reasons that the Norwegian Nobel Committee cited for giving the Nobel Peace Prize to Juan Manuel Santos.
1) The Norwegian Nobel Committee’s said that President Santos, despite the “No” majority vote in the referendum, has brought the bloody conflict significantly closer to a peaceful solution, and that much of the groundwork has been laid for both the verifiable disarmament of the FARC guerrillas and a historic process of national fraternity and reconciliation.
2) President Santos initiated the negotiations that culminated in the peace accord between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas, and he has consistently sought to move the peace process forward, noted the Norwegian Nobel Committee. “Well knowing that the accord was controversial, he was instrumental in ensuring that Colombian voters were able to voice their opinion concerning the peace accord in a referendum,” the Committee said.
While stating that the outcome of the vote was not what Santos wanted, the Committee acknowledges that the no to the peace accord does not necessarily mean that the peace process is dead. “The referendum was not a vote for or against peace. What the “No” side rejected was not the desire for peace, but a specific peace agreement,” it says.
3) The Norwegian Nobel Committee goes on to emphasise the importance of the fact that President Santos is now inviting all parties to participate in a broad-based national dialogue aimed at advancing the peace process. Even those who opposed the peace accord have welcomed such a dialogue, it says. The Nobel Committee hopes that all parties will take their share of responsibility and participate constructively in the upcoming peace talks.
4) By awarding this year’s Peace Prize to President Juan Manuel Santos, the Norwegian Nobel Committee says that it wishes to encourage all those who are striving to achieve peace, reconciliation and justice in Colombia. The president himself has made it clear that he will continue to work for peace right up until his very last day in office, it says.
5) The Committee hopes that the Peace Prize will give him strength to succeed in this demanding task. Furthermore, it is the Committee’s hope that in the years to come the Colombian people will reap the fruits of the ongoing peace and reconciliation process.