OPCW wins Nobel Peace Prize

The 2013 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

The headquarters of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague, Netherlands. Picture: AFP

OSLO - The 2013 Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to chemical weapons watchdog, Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in an announcement made by Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Thorbjorn Jaglandthe in Norway.

The United Nations organisation is currently overseeing the chemical weapons eradication program in Syria.

According to Reuters, the OPCW is the 22nd organisation to receive the Nobel Prize.

Set up in 1997 to eliminate all chemicals weapons worldwide, its mission gained critical importance this year after a sarin gas strike in the suburbs of Damascus killed more than 1,400 people in August.

The $1.25 million prize will be presented to the organisation in Oslo on 10 December, the anniversary of the death of Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, who founded the awards in his 1895 will.

Reuters said Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, which has a strong track record leaking the names of winners, reported the OPCW's victory more than an hour before the official announcement.

OTHER CANDIDATES

There were around 250 nominees for this year's prize, including several dozen organisations.

But the big favourites besides the OPCW included:

  • Malala Yousafzai - The 16-year-old teenager who was shot in the head by the Taliban last year and has since become one of the youngest and most prominent advocates for education and human rights in the world.

  • Doctor Denis Mukwege - A doctor from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) who has treated thousands of survivors of sexual abuse.

  • Claudia Paz y Paz - The first female Attorney-General in Guatemala, one of the most violent countries in Latin America.

  • A trio of Russian human rights activists.

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden