Nobel Peace Prize winner Houcine Abassi brings message of solidarity and hope to UNI Africa Conference
Houcine Abassi, former secretary general of the Union Generale des Travailleurs Tunisiens (UGTT), brought a message of hope and solidarity to the UNI Africa Conference in Dakar. Houcine Abassi’s tireless work as part of the National Dialogue Quartet helped save Tunisia from civil war. Abassi was met with a rapturous African welcome and a standing ovation.
In October 2015, the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet - which comprised members of the UGTT, the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, the Tunisian Human Rights League and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers - won the Nobel Peace Prize.
“The Nobel Peace Prize is an award for all trade unions,” Abassi said to the meeting of over 500 unionists in Dakar. “It’s a great honour for Tunisia and Tunisian trade unions, but the prize is the property of trade unions all around the world.”
“We have so many common battles. Globalisation is here and it means we face the same issues – rapacious multinational companies, precarious jobs and the closing of democratic spaces.”
“These issues can be tackled when we strengthen the links between our organisations and countries. International solidarity must be maintained through permanent action and economic, social and educational actions.”
“The example of the national dialogue quartet in Tunisia proves that civil society, and trade unions in particular can play a major role in healing social rifts.”
“Let us move forward together for a new Africa with strong unions, democracy and civil society!”