The Nobel Peace Prize 2013 has been awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
Thorbjørn Jagland, the Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in his announcement that the OPCW had been awarded the 2013 Peace Prize for its “extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons”.
Jagland said that the conventions and the work of the OPCW have defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law.
“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.
The OPCW is the body overseeing destruction of Syria's chemical weapons. The organization is rooted in the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). The treaty was first signed exactly 20 years ago, in 1993, and entered into force in 1997.
All countries that have signed the treaty have to agree to ban chemical weapons completely. States giving consent to the treaty also agree to destroy stockpiles of these types of weapons under their control.
Until this fall only Angola, Egypt, Israel, Myanmar, North Korea, Sudan and Syria were the only countries that had not signed the treaty.
Following pressure from the international community and their ally Russia, Syria has recently expressed interest in becoming a member of the treaty, and has taken the initial steps to sign and ratify it. Israel and Myanmar have now signed, but not ratified the convention.
The CWC is considered the most successful treaty for disarmament. Along with the work of the OPWC, it has contributed to nearly 80 percent of the world's chemical weapons arsenals being destroyed. (Source: NRK, Norwegian Broadcasting) Corporation).
Photo: Professor Ake Sellstrom head of the chemical weapons team working in Syria on behalf of the OPWC, hands over the report on the 21 August 2013 Al-Ghouta massacre to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras
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