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article imageSyrian chemical weapons watchdog, OPCW, win Nobel Peace Prize

By Eileen Kersey     Oct 11, 2013 in Politics
Oslo - If you placed a bet on who would win the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize the odds are that you lost money. In spite of many favourites this years' winner was the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Friday the latest Nobel Peace Prize winner was announced -- the weapons watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the OPCW. The announcement was made mid-morning Friday at the Norwegian Nobel Institute in Oslo.
Formed in 1997, the OPCW is an international, independent body. It was created to implement a new global treaty prohibiting the production and stockpiling of chemical weapons.
According to CBC: "The conventions and the work of the OPCW have defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law," the Norwegian Nobel Committee said in its announcement. 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."
Under the Geneva Convention chemical weapons were banned in 1925. There was no legislation, however, to halt the manufacture or storage of such weapons.
Since 1925 many new and terrible weapons have been created, notably the atom bomb, which can kill millions of people at a time and used to bomb Japan by the USA in 1945.
The Nobel Peace Prize was created by Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, in his will. It was his legacy to the world. One of his goals in life was global disarmament.
"By means of the present award to the OPCW, the committee is seeking to contribute to the elimination of chemical weapons," it said. In doing so it believes the committee is fulfilling Nobel's wishes.
OPWC inspectors risked life and limb to collect data in Syria following alleged chemical weapons attacks in August.
The National Post reports: The reaction in Syria to the Nobel decision was notably polarized. A senior Syrian rebel called the award a “premature step” that will divert the world’s attention from “the real cause of the war” while a ruling party lawmaker declared it to be a vindication of President Bashir Al-Assad’s government.
Malala Yousafzai, shot by the Taliban in Pakistan for going to school, was one favourite to win. According to a poll carried out by the Daily Telegraph before the announcement, on who deserves the award:
Malala was favourite. 60.16 per cent think the 16-year-old should win, 21.3 per cent think Dr Mukwege, 4.9 per cent think the three Russian activists should take it home, Claudia Paz y Paz, Guatemala's first woman Attorney General, has 2.54 per cent and Vladimir Putin has an astonishing 11 per cent.
There was huge disappointment in Malala's home town of Mingora when the winner was announced.
There were many front-runners predicted in this year's race to win the prestigious prize including:
Denis Mukwege, a doctor in the Democratic Republic of Congo who has helped thousands of women gang raped and abused during the country's civil war.
Lyudmila Alexeyeva, Svetlana Gannushkina and Lilya Shibanova, a trio of human rights activists in Russia protesting Putin's gay rights changes.
Claudia Paz y Paz, the first female Attorney General in Guatemala.
And of course, brave Malala Yousafzai who stood up to the Taliban and spoke out for education rights for girls in Pakistan.
There were a couple of controversial nominees notably:
President Putin, in light of gay rights issues in Russia.
Whistle-blower Edward Snowden currently in temporary asylum in Russia.
Chelsea (previously Bradley) Manning, responsible for Wikileaks revelations which showed the US military at its worst in Iraq. She is currently serving 35 years in jail.
A great deal of secrecy surrounds the Nobel Peace Prize nominees and those who nominate them. Both are kept secret for 50 years according to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation.
More about Syria, syrian chemical weapons, Malala Yousafzai, Nobel peace prize winner, Nobel peace prize
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