For its role in brokering a peaceful path to democracy, Tunisiaâ€™s labor movement today was named a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Nobel Committee recognized the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartetâ€”comprised of longtime Solidarity Center ally the Tunisian General Labor Union (UGTT), the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, the Tunisian Human Rights League and the Tunisian Order of Lawyersâ€”for establishing â€śan alternative, peaceful political process at a time when the country was on the brink of civil war.â€ť
The Quartet, formed in 2013, was â€śinstrumental 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,â€ť Nobel Committee Chairman Kaci Kullmann Five said at the presentation ceremony.
â€śThis is a great joy and pride for Tunisia, but also a hope for the Arab World,â€ť UGTT chief Hassine Abassi told Reuters. â€śItâ€™s a message that dialogue can lead us on the right path. This prize is a message for our region to put down arms and sit and talk at the negotiation table.â€ť
In 2012, the UGTT received the AFL-CIOâ€™s 2012 George Meany-Lane Kirkland Human Rights Award along with the labor federation ofÂ Bahrain, the General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions, for their mobilization of thousands of people in their countries to carry forward a message of social justice during the popular uprisings that swept the Middle East in 2010 and 2011.
This is the second year in a row that worker rights activists have been honored with a Nobel Peace Prize. Last year Kailash Satyarthi, head of the Global March against Child Labor, also aÂ Solidarity Center ally, shared the prize with girlsâ€™ education activist Malala Yousafzai.