UNI Global Union congratulates UGTT on receiving Nobel Peace Prize
UNI General Secretary Philip Jennings with Houcine Abassi UGTT leader & Nobel Peace Prize winner 3L & Mongi Amami & Abderrahim UGTT & Uni Tunis
UNI Global Union, represented by General Secretary Philip Jennings was present to see Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (UGTT) receive its share of the Nobel Peace Prize during a glittering ceremony in Oslo. More than 100 Tunisian unionists many from UNI’s Tunisian affiliates were also at the event.
The UGTT was a key part of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet which was awarded the prize for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011 which sparked the wider Arab Spring.
UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings and ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrows were among the attendees of the ceremony in the Norwegian capital and Jennings offered his personal congratulations to the Quartet and each of UNI’s Tunisian affiliates represented at the event.
Jennings said, “This is a brilliant and historic win for civil society in which trade unions, lawyers, human rights groups and employers worked together for the good of the people and in the quest for peace.”
“We are witnessing the rise of a new Tunisia based on dialogue, democracy and peaceful negotiations and this is a shining example of what can happen when workers are given at the seat at the table from the enterprise to the nation. We can make a difference in bringing a peace without hate.”
In his Nobel Peace Prize acceptance lecture Houcine Abassi, UGTT General Secretary said it was vital to identify the roots of extremism.
"It is the task of the government to give a military answer to terrorism and to establish organizations that can give a diagnosis of the problem," Abassi said through an interpreter.We will stand ready to help other organizations in such work," Abassi said.
The National Dialogue Quartet was formed in the summer of 2013 when the democratisation process was in danger of collapsing as a result of political assassinations and widespread social unrest. It established an alternative, peaceful political process at a time when the country was on the brink of civil war. It was thus instrumental in enabling Tunisia, in the space of a few years, to establish a constitutional system of government guaranteeing fundamental rights for the entire population, irrespective of gender, political conviction or religious belief.
The Quartet comprised four key organizations in Tunisian civil society: the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT, Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail), the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA, Union Tunisienne de l'Industrie, du Commerce et de l'Artisanat), the Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH, La Ligue Tunisienne pour la Défense des Droits de l'Homme), and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers (Ordre National des Avocats de Tunisie).
Each of these organisations represents different sectors and values in Tunisian society: working life and welfare, principles of the rule of law and human rights.
The Quartet was an essential factor in Tunisia’s peaceful, democratic elections which took place last autumn.
“The Quartet has paved the way for a peaceful dialogue between the citizens, the political parties and the authorities and helped to find consensus-based solutions to a wide range of challenges across political and religious divides,” the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in a statement.
See video of the ceremony and more details at: http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2015/press.html