#factoftheday Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos wins the 2016 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the country’s civil war
He signed this peace deal with the FARC after 4 years of negotiations. The deal was meant to end 52 years of conflict.
The deal unfortunately collapsed last week as 50.2% of the Columbian voters rejected it in a referendum.
Alvaro Uribe, the former president was one of the most vocal opponent against the deal, arguing that it was too lenient to the rebels. (Those who confessed their crimes would get lighter sentences and the FARC would have 10 seats guaranteed in the Colombian Congress in the 2018 and 2022 elections).
260,000 people died because of the conflict, while more than six millions have been internally displaced.
The Nobel peace prize committee argued that the result of the referendum was important; « What the « No » side rejected was not the desire for peace, but a specific peace agreement. »
Santos recognised that the reason for the “No” was the difficulty to find a balance between the need for reconciliation and justice for the victims. Yet, he promised to work for peace until his last day in office.
The Nobel committee explained the wanted the prize to “give him strength to succeed in this difficult task”.
The Columbian president was selected for the prize from a list of 376 candidates (228 were individuals and 148 were organisations).
The leading candidate until the announcement was the Syrian White Helmets, a corps of first responders which has rescued thousands of victims in Syria from the beginning of the war.
This group of almost 3000 volunteers put their own lives on the line every day, notably with the recent developments in Aleppo.