, OSLO, Norway, Oct 9 – Tunisian civil society groups won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for helping to create the only democracy to emerge from the Arab Spring, at a time when the country is under threat from jihadist violence.
The Nobel panel said the award to the National Dialogue Quartet was intended as an “encouragement to the Tunisian people” and as an inspiration for others, particularly in the turbulent Middle East.
The award drew praise from around the world as a “beacon of hope” for the region, while one winner said it was a tribute to the “martyrs” who died in the struggle to move the north African country from dictatorship to democracy.
The committee hailed the quartet’s “decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011,” chairwoman Kaci Kullmann Five said.
“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,” the panel said.
During the wave of unrest which erupted in January 2011 after the death of a young jobless university graduate who had set himself on fire in protest over police harassment and unemployment, more than 300 people were killed.