Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos says he will donate the money from the Nobel Peace Prize he has recently been awarded to the victims of the 52 years of civil war in his country.
Santos was awarded the 925,000-dollar Nobel prize on October 7 for his efforts to reach a landmark peace deal with the main rebel group in his country, namely the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
The prize money would go toward “projects, foundations or programs that deal with victims and reconciliation,” Santos said on Sunday after a religious ceremony for the victims of the conflict in Bojaya, which was also attended by his spouse and children, as well as several members of his cabinet.
The conflict has claimed the lives over 260,000 people and left 45,000 others missing.
The landmark peace deal between Bogota and FARC was signed by President Santos himself and FARC leader Rodrigo Londono in Cartagena on September 26, following four years of negotiations in Havana, Cuba.
Colombian voters, however, narrowly rejected the deal in a referendum on October 2 in a victory for the “No” campaign spearheaded by Santos’ top political rival, former president Alvaro Uribe.
Uribe’s right-wing Democratic Center party, which claims that the terms of the deal are too lenient with the militant group, wants jail terms for those FARC rebels who have committed serious crimes and some of the rebel leaders to be banned from politics.
The government of President Santos and the FARC rebels have, in the wake of the referendum results, decided to engage in renegotiating the terms of the deal.
“We’re going to persevere; we will persist, persist, persist and persist until we implement the agreement that was signed,” the Nobel laureate said.
“If we have to make adjustments to what we have already agreed, we will make those adjustments,” the Colombian president said.
The president will receive the prize, which also consists of a gold medal and a diploma, at a ceremony in Oslo, the capital of Norway, on December 10.
The Nobel prize was awarded to him for his efforts in securing the peace deal despite the rejection of the agreement in the referendum.