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“We were expecting this in 2014 when UGTT was first nominated for the prize, so we are very pleased to hear today’s news that the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet,” says Rosa Pavanelli, General Secretary of Public Services International.
“I want to congratulate Brother Houcine Abassi, Secretary General of the UGTT, PSI affiliates members of UGTT and all the leaders in UGTT for having contributed relentlessly to the construction of a pluralistic and democratic society in Tunisia, following the Jasmine Revolution in 2011.”
Houcine Abassi, the secretary general of the UGTT, said he was “overwhelmed” by the prize.
“It’s a prize that crowns more than two years of efforts deployed by the quartet when the country was in danger on all fronts,” he told the Associated Press.
The fact that the Nobel Peace Prize recipient includes a trade union organisation is a major success because it highlights the vital role of trade unions in strengthening democratic institutions and social cohesion, while many governments are denying even the basic right to social dialogue.
The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet was created after the high-profile assassination of the leftist politician Mohamed Al-Brahmi in 2013, which sparked protests across the country and came a few months after the first political assassination of Chokri Belaid. It is credited with creating a national dialogue between the country's Islamist and secular coalition parties amid deepening political and economic crisis in 2013.
The Quartet is comprised of four key organisations in Tunisian civil society: the Tunisian General Labour Union UGTT, the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, the Tunisian Human Rights League and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers.