The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the Nobel Peace Prize today to a coalition of Tunisian labor union leaders, business leaders, lawyers, and human rights activists for their “decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.”
The coalition, formed in 2013, is known as the National Dialogue Quartet and is comprised of four key organizations in Tunisian civil society: the Tunisian General Labor Union, the Tunisian Confederacy of Industry, Trade, and Handicrafts, the Tunisian Human Rights League, and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers.
According to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, “the Arab Spring originated in Tunisia in 2010-2011, but quickly spread to a number of countries in North Africa and the Middle East. In many of these countries, the struggle for democracy and fundamental rights has come to a standstill or suffered setbacks. Tunisia, however, has seen a democratic transition based on a vibrant civil society with demands for respect for basic human rights.”
The National Dialogue Quartet successfully navigated the turbulent period following Tunisia’s first free parliamentary elections, engaging peaceful dialogue between citizens, political parties, and the authorities, and led the way for the country’s nascent democracy. While the current peace in Tunisia is still very much fragile, it is widely seen as a relative success when compared to other countries swept up by the Arab Spring, such as Egypt, Libya and Yemen.
Tunisia continues to face significant challenges. The Norwegian Nobel Committee “hopes that this year’s prize will contribute towards safeguarding democracy in Tunisia and be an inspiration to all those who seek to promote peace and democracy in the Middle East, North Africa and the rest of the world. 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.”
This is an Africa Business Blog post, presented by CHANG LAW. The blog series is posted on CHANG LAW’s International Arbitration (IA) Blog page, and covers a range of topics related to doing business in Africa.