News World Colombian leader awarded Nobel Peace Prize

Colombian leader awarded Nobel Peace Prize

Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos was chosen from the record 376 candidates for the Nobel Peace Prize. Photo: AAP
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The 2016 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos.

Mr Santos became president in 2010 and last month signed a historic peace deal with FARC rebel leader Rodrigo Londono, also known as Timochenko.

The deal was hailed as an end to 52 years of war, which has cost the lives of at least 220,000 Colombians and displaced close to 6 million people.

It also provided a pathway for FARC to disarm and become a political party.

“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,” a statement from the Norwegian Nobel Committee read.

“This tribute is paid, not least, to the representatives of the countless victims of the civil war.”

The Colombian peace deal was rejected at a referendum by a tiny margin of 50.23 per cent to 49.76 per cent, but both sides have said they will try to salvage the accord.

Nobel committee leader Kaci Kullmann Five said the referendum voters were not saying “No” to peace but to the agreement.

“The fact that a majority of the voters said “No” to the peace accord does not necessarily mean that the peace process is dead,” the committee said.

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC leader Timochenko. Photo: ABC
Santos shakes hands with FARC leader Timochenko in June. Photo: ABC

“This makes it even more important that the parties, headed by President Santos and FARC guerrilla leader Rodrigo Londono, continue to respect the ceasefire.”

Asked why the committee had not extended the award to other parties to the negotiation, notably the FARC commander in chief, Ms Kullmann Five said the committee never commented on those who did not receive the award.

But she said that there were “strong reasons to put a light on the president himself” and that “his role as president” and “the keeper of the process” had been instrumental is securing a deal.

The committee made its selection from a record 376 candidates. Of those 228 were individuals and 148 were organizations. Candidates can be nominated by heads of state, top government officials and lawmakers; certain judges and professors; past winners of the prize; and former and current members of the committee, among others.

The Nobel Peace Prize was announced at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo, Norway. The prize be presented in Oslo on December 10 and comes with 8 million Swedish crowns ($A1.3 million).

A selection of notable previous Nobel Peace Prize laureates:

2016 – Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos
2014 – Malala Yousafzai
2012 – European Union
2009 – Barack Obama
2007 – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Al Gore
2005 – International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei
2002 – Jimmy Carter
2001 – United Nations, Kofi Annan
2000 – Kim Dae Jung
1994 – Yasser Arafat, Shimon Peres, Yitzhak Rabin
1993 – Nelson Mandela, Frederik Willem de Klerk
1991 – Aung San Suu Kyi
1990 – Mikhail Gorbachev
1989 – Dalai Lama
1984 – Desmond Tutu
1983 – Lech Walesa
1979 – Mother Teresa
1964 – Martin Luther King Jr
1919 – Thomas Woodrow Wilson