Oslo: The 2013 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) "for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons", the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced Friday.
Stating that disarmament figured prominently in Alfred Nobel’s will, the Committee stated that it had, 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," a committee press release stated.
During World War I, it said, 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 II, 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 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. In all, 189 states have acceded to the convention till date, the press release added.
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.
While some states are still not members of the OPCW, certain others have not observed the deadline, which was April 2012, for destroying their chemical weapons. This applies especially to the US and Russia, the release added.