The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
has won the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace, Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, announced this morning.
The OPCW has been a crucial player in field of chemical and biological weapons in a year that saw the second largest sarin gas attack in history in Syria this summer. More than 1,000 were killed in a suburb of Syria, including many children, pushing the United States to the brink of military action.
“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,” Jagland said in his statement.
But Jagland also noted that the award was not given to OPCW because of Syria, but because of its longstanding work. He said that OPCW had been nominated in previous years.
Many were hopeful the Nobel committee would make history and name 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai, an advocate for women’s rights and access to education who survived an assassination attempt at the hands of Taliban in Pakistan almost one year ago today.
Jagland declined to comment on the committee’s decision to pass over Yousafzai, saying that they never comment on those who do not win the award, focusing on the ones who did.
“Disarmament figures prominently in Alfred Nobel’s will. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has through numerous prizes underlined the need to do away with nuclear weapons,” Jagland said. “By means of the present award to the OPCW, the Committee is seeking to contribute to the elimination of chemical weapons.”
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