The Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID) extends warm congratulations to the Tunisian People and the National Dialogue Quartet for the 2015 Nobel Peace Price, awarded for the Quartet’s contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.” It is important to note that in addition to the extraordinary efforts of the General Federation of Trade Unions (UGTT), the Bar Association, the Employer’s Association, and the Tunisian Human Rights League, the Nobel Committee underscored that the award was not for the individual organizations but for the Quartet, and its extraordinary 2013 achievement on behalf of democracy. As President Béji Caïd Essebsi and Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi stated following the award, it is an award for all of the Tunisian people and for all those in civil society who worked together to seek peace and democracy through consensual dialogue and inclusivity and with full respect for human rights.
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded for the work of civil society in mediating during a national crisis, facilitating dialogue, and building national unity and consensus. Only peaceful, democratic means will allow the Tunisian success story to continue and for it to have a stabilizing effect on an increasingly turbulent region. The Nobel Peace Prize shines a spotlight on the wonderful accomplishments of all Tunisians and is eliciting positive statements of support from around the world. This positive good will, however, needs to translate into concrete action, a strengthening and deepening of not just moral support but of new direct assistance and programmatic support. Despite its successes, Tunisia faces a looming economic crisis, and needs much greater levels of support.
CSID continues to call on the United States, European governments, and the international community to rise to their own rhetorical commitments and help shore up the only true democratic transition in the Middle East and North Africa region, by creating a Special Fund to Support Democracy in Tunisia, of at least $5 Billion a year for the next 5 years.
Long-term stability can only be achieved through sustainable human development, transparent and accountable governance, and empowerment of all citizens. The continued success of democracy in Tunisia will have a tremendous impact on the whole region, and will provide an attractive alternative to the voices of extremism, violence, military rule, and dictatorships in the Middle East and North Africa region.