The 2016 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos for his efforts to end Colombia’s long-running civil war with the FARC guerrilla group, CNN reported today.
The peace prize committee awarded Santos the prize for “his resolute efforts to bring the country’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end, a war that has cost the lives of at least 220 000 Colombians and displaced close to six million people.”
“The award should also be seen as a tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace, and to all the parties who have contributed to the peace process. This tribute is paid, not least, to the representatives of the countless victims of the civil war.”
Santos’ government spent four years negotiating a peace deal with the former rebel group FARC that would have ended five decades of war.
But Colombians narrowly rejected the peace deal in a referendum last weekend. Critics of the deal said it didn’t do enough to punish the rebels. It was a major blow for Santos, whose popularity has suffered in his support of the deal.
Now it seems the rebels and the Colombian government, facilitated by international leaders, will have to go back to the drawing board to reimagine a peace that is acceptable to victims of murder, extortion and kidnapping.
“Well knowing that the accord was controversial, he was instrumental in ensuring that Colombian voters were able to voice their opinion concerning the peace accord in a referendum,” said the Nobel Committee.