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The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet receives the Nobel Peace Prize 2015

BEIRUT |, with agencies - October 11, 2015, 10h47
Credit Photo: Catalina Martin-Chico

The Nobel Prize 2015 was awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet. On Friday, several international organisations hailed this award which “recognises the determination of Tunisian civil society and its tenacious fight for democracy and human rights.”

“It is a tribute to the courage of Tunisian men and woman who, notwithstanding continuous attacks against fundamental freedoms, were able to unite all society actors, to consolidate the young Tunisian democracy,” the FIDH stated in a press release on Friday.

“We are extremely proud to hear that the Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to our Tunisian member organisation, the LTDH, as well as our partners the National Bar Association of Tunisian Lawyers and the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT),” said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. Accordong to the organization, the award of this prize sends a strong message of encouragement and support to civil society across the region, which continuously faces obscurantism and extremism.

"This prize rewards the role of civil society in supporting the aspirations of the Tunisian people for democracy and human rights. It also demonstrates the importance of dialogue, including in the fight against extremism," declared Abdessattar Ben Moussa, President of the Tunisian League of Human Rights (LTDH).

Also on Friday, Amnesty International stated that the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet’s newly awarded Nobel Peace Prize is a fitting tribute to its members’ work in strengthening civil society and human rights in a society still struggling with the legacy of decades of repression and abuse. Amnesty International has worked with and spoken out to defend the rights of three of the four Quartet’s members, which have for decades been at the forefront of the fight to defend the human rights of Tunisians.

“This is an important recognition of the key role that civil society can play in a country emerging from years of dictatorship and human rights violations,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, adding that “These organizations were continually threatened by the government before the 2011 uprising, and showed great courage in a climate of repression. In the difficult years since then, they held firm in speaking out for human rights and the rule of law.”

“As the shadow of attacks by armed groups looms over Tunisia, this recognition from the Nobel Committee is a signal of hope for a country facing huge challenges for the future,” Salil Shetty added.

AI highlighted that one member of the Quartet, the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT, Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail), has bravely fought for better working conditions, including for women, at a time of severe unemployment in Tunisia, a major trigger for the mass uprisings in 2011.

Another, the Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH, La Ligue Tunisienne pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme) is one of the oldest human rights groups in Africa and the Arab world, and was continually harassed under President Ben Ali.

The third, the Tunisian Order of Lawyers (Ordre National des Avocats de Tunisie), continued to work despite facing repression and attempts to silence it.

In January 2014 Tunisia adopted a new constitution containing important human rights guarantees, although the authorities still continue to arbitrarily restrict freedom of expression and association.

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