Colombian president wins Nobel Peace Prize

Despite historic peace accords being voted down in a referendum, the Nobel committee saw fit to bestow their blessings on his efforts.

Courtesy of: Reuters
Courtesy of: Reuters

With his historic vote for peace, Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos is rewarded for his tireless efforts for trying to end decades long hostilities in his country.

After a record number of nominations, the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize, and a large sum of cash was awarded to Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos on Friday.

The Nobel Peace Prize is the most closely watched award at this year’s ceremonies, with experts, online betting sites and commentators all placing the Colombian Government and leftist FARC rebels high on their lists of possible laureates before a national vote failed to pass the peace deal into law. 

"The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016 to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos 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," said Nobel committee chairwoman Kaci Kullmann Five. 

President Santos on Friday said that receiving the Nobel Prize would be "a great stimulus" for Colombian efforts to achieve peace, in an interview with the Nobel Foundation. 

"The message is that we have to persevere and reach the end of this war. We are very, very close, we just need to push a bit further," he said.

Notably absent from the award was the co-signer of Colombia's peace deal, rebel leader Rodrigo Londono, also known under the alias Timoleon Jimenez or Timochenko.

"The only prize to which we aspire is that of peace with social justice for a Colombia without paramilitarism, without retaliation nor lies," he tweeted from his personal Twitter account after the award went only to Santos.

The other top contenders this year included:

  • The White Helmets – a group of volunteer rescue workers on the frontlines in Syria
  • Russian human rights activist Svetlana Gannushkina
  • Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege – who helps victims of rape
  • Negotiators of the Iran nuke deal: Ernest Montiz of the United States and Ali Akbar Salehi of Iran
  • US whistleblower Edward Snowden

Dan Smith, Head of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), said Santos and FARC leader Timoleon Jimenez would make worthy winners this year.

"My hope is that today's Nobel Committee in Oslo is inspired by their predecessors' decision to award the 1993 prize to Nelson Mandela and FW de Klerk, architects of the peaceful end of apartheid," Smith said.

That prize came "at a time when the outcome of the transition was uncertain, and with the aim of encouraging all parties to a peaceful outcome, and it succeeded."

TRTWorld and agencies