Nobel Peace Prize for Colombia’s Juan Manuel Santos


Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to end the 52-year conflict with left-wing rebels.

The Nobel committee in Norway praised him for his peace agreement with Farc rebels, signed last month after four years of negotiations.

However, Colombians narrowly rejected the deal in a referendum last weekend.

The conflict has killed about 260,000 people have been killed. More than six million have been internally displaced.

Mr Santos was selected from a list of 376 candidates – 228 were individuals and 148 were organisations. They included:

the Syrian White Helmets, civil defence volunteers who rescue bomb victims
the negotiators of the international deal to limit Iran’s nuclear programme
Greek islanders on the front line of Europe’s refugee crisis.

The award did not include Farc leader Rodrigo Londono, known as Timochenko, who signed the accord with Mr Santos.

Juan Manuel Santos

Born in Bogota in 10 August 1951 in an influential family
Elected Colombian president in 2010 and re-elected in 2014
Served as defence minister from 2006 until 2009
Married, has two sons and one daughter

“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,” said committee chairwoman Kaci Kullmann Five.

“The award should also be seen as a tribute to the Colombian people,” she added.

The peace deal was rejected by 50.2% of voters who went to the polls on 2 October. Despite the result, Mr Santos vowed to continue with talks with the rebels.

Government negotiators have already returned to the Cuban capital Havana for further discussions with Farc leaders.

The Farc’s 52-year fight

1964: Set up as armed wing of Communist Party

2002: At its height, it had an army of 20,000 fighters controlling up to a third of the country. Senator Ingrid Betancourt was kidnapped and held for six years along with 14 other hostages

2008: The Farc suffers a series of defeats in its worst year

2012: Start of peace talks in Havana

2016: Definitive ceasefire

Critics, led by former president Alvaro Uribe, said the deal was too lenient to the rebels.

Under the agreement, special courts would have been created to try crimes committed during the conflict.

Those who confessed would have received lighter sentences and avoided serving any time in conventional prisons.

The Farc would also have been guaranteed 10 seats in the Colombian Congress in the 2018 and 2022 elections.

Eligible nominators from around the world can put forward candidates up to 1 February of the award year, while Nobel Committee members have more time

All nominations are reviewed by the committee – whose five members are chosen by the Norwegian parliament – before a shortlist of 20-30 candidates are selected

A group of Norwegian and international advisers write individual reports on the shortlisted candidates. Using these and further reports, the committee narrows the selection down to a handful

A decision is reached in the last meeting of the committee, usually in late September or early October, before the prize is announced

If a unanimous decision cannot be reached, a simple majority vote is used

After the announcement, the award ceremony takes place on 10 December, the date of Alfred Nobel’s death


Source: BBC