Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos wins Nobel Peace Prize 2016

Santos initiated the peace accord between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has received the Nobel Peace Prize for 2016, for his efforts to bring Colombia’s more than 50-year-long civil war to an end.

Announcing the award, the Norwegian Nobel committee said Santos initiated the peace accord between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrillas, to end a war that has cost the lives of at least 220 000 Colombians and displaced close to six million people.

The peace agreement was rejected by Colombians when it was put to referendum few days back.

However, the committee said the fact that a majority of the voters said no to the peace accord does not necessarily mean that the peace process is dead and the referendum was not a vote for or against peace.

“The Norwegian Nobel Committee emphasises the importance of the fact that President Santos is now inviting all parties to participate in a broad-based national dialogue aimed at advancing the peace process. Even those who opposed the peace accord have welcomed such a dialogue, said a statement from by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.

“The award should also be seen as a tribute to the Colombian people who, despite great hardships and abuses, have not given up hope of a just peace, and to all the parties who have contributed to the peace process. This tribute is paid, not least, to the representatives of the countless victims of the civil war,” it added.

The winner of the Nobel Peace prize has been selected from a list of 376 candidates, which included 228 individuals and 148 organisations. Besides Santos, few of the favourites were Greek Islanders, villagers who rescued refugees off the shore of Greece and the Syrian Civil Defence organization, White Helmets.

In 2015, the Peace Prize was awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for its contribution to the Tunisia’s transition to democracy after the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.