Chemical Weapons Watchdog Wins Nobel Peace Prize

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This year’s Nobel Peace Prize goes to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons,” announced the Norwegian Nobel Committee today.

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“The conventions and the work of the OPCW have defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law,” the committee said. “Recent events in Syria, where chemical weapons have again been put to use, have underlined the need to enhance the efforts to do away with such weapons.”

Since 1997 — when the OPCW came into force following a 1992-93 Chemical Weapons Convention, the first international prohibition of the production and storage of chemical weapons and not just the use of such weapons — the organization has, “through inspections, destruction and by other means,” sought to eliminate chemical weapons around the world.

Even now, “a team of around 30 OPCW arms experts and UN logistics and security personnel are on the ground in Syria and have started to destroy weapons production facilities, with footage of their work broadcast on Syrian television,” reported the AFP. Syria is expected to soon join the OPCW, which currently has 189 member states.

This year the Nobel Committee received a record 259 candidates, including 50 organizations, for consideration of the Nobel Peace Prize, including 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan, who the Taliban shot in the head last October for her outspoken work in advocating girls education.

IMAGE: Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu briefs jounalists on the progression in the disarmament of Syria’s chemical arsenal and facilites on October 9, 2013 in The Hague. (Martijn Beekman/AFP/Getty Images)

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