The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded this Friday. The recipient is Juan Manuel Santos, the president of Colombia. Santos received the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for the efforts he made to bring peace to Colombia. The Colombian president worked on a peace agreement to put an end to the civil war that had lasted for over five decades.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee wanted to acknowledge the work that Santos had put in to finalize the agreement between the government and the FARC. Also, to credit his good intentions and his willingness to seek peace for his country.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee Looking at Colombia
The conflict between the government forces and the rebels has been going on for more than fifty years. Since the beginning, 220,000 people have lost their lives. Others have lost their livelihoods, as the conflict forced millions of underprivileged farmers to move off their land.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee took the opportunity to send a message of support to Columbia. President Juan Manuel Santos winning the Nobel Peace Prize comes just a few days after peace was rejected in a referendum in Colombia.
The proposed pact between the Colombian government and the FARC was put to a vote. Colombians went to the polls in a referendum on the peace agreement. The people narrowly rejected the agreement, after a long, troubled and sometimes bloody history.
Nonetheless, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wanted to send a message of hope and peace to the Colombian people. And to the political actors involved in the peace process. Kaci Kullmann Five, the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee said: “We encourage you to go on”.
President Juan Manuel Santos Reacts to the News
Juan Manuel Santos said that he received the news from his son, Martin, early this morning. It has been a difficult week for the Columbian president. On his second term, Santos wanted to bring about a workable deal that would see the rebels give up their weapons to impartial UN forces.
Santos had spent four years working on the peace agreement, a document nearly 300 pages long with a myriad of provisions. Polls indicated that the outcome of the referendum would be a positive one. But Columbians turned down the peace deal, seemingly unable to let go of the past. Many were still asking for justice and did not want to forgive and forget when it came to the actions of the rebel forces.
Whether the Colombian people were ready or not for the peace process to move forward, the vote at the referendum put talks on hold for the government and the rebels. For president Juan Manuel Santos, personally, the result of the referendum was a political defeat. He had made great efforts with the reconciliation process and was looking forward to success.
Juan Manuel Santos, 65 years old and a veteran politician was appreciative of the award. He issued a statement from the presidential palace in Colombia. He wanted to tell his Colombian people that the award was for them. “It is for the victims and so there is not one more victim, not one more death, so that we can reconcile and unite to finish this process and begin to build a stable and lasting peace”, he said.
Image source: here.