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2013 Peace Nobel for chemical weapons watchdog

Last updated on: October 11, 2013 14:54 IST

Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.

According to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, 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.

Some states are still not members of the OPCW. Certain states have not observed the deadline, which was April 2012, for destroying their chemical weapons. This applies especially to the US and Russia, the committee said in a statement.

The release said: "During World War One, chemical weapons were used to a considerable degree. The Geneva Convention of 1925 prohibited the use, but not the production or storage, of chemical weapons. During World War Two, chemical means were employed in Hitler’s mass exterminations. Chemical weapons have subsequently been put to use on numerous occasions by both states and terrorists. In 1992-93 a convention was drawn up prohibiting also the production and storage of such weapons. It came into force in 1997. Since then the OPCW has, through inspections, destruction and by other means, sought the implementation of the convention. 189 states have acceded to the convention to date."


The OPCW is tasked with supervising the dismantling of Syria's chemical weapons arsenal. 

Experts from The Hague-based watchdog, supported by the United Nations, aim to help destroy Syria's chemical weapons production facilities and weapons-filling equipment by November 01. 

Under a Russian-US deal struck last month, Syria's entire chemicals arms program is due to be eliminated by mid-2014. 

In line with tradition, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Thorbjoern Jagland, revealed the laureate's name at 11:00 am (0900 GMT) at the Nobel Institute in Oslo. 

"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. By means of the present award to the OPCW, the Committee is seeking to contribute to the elimination of chemical weapons," the Committee statement said.

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