Nobel Committee awarded its 2013 Peace Prize on Friday to a relatively modest and little-known United Nations-backed body that is currently seeking to destroy Syria’s stocks of chemical arms under a deal brokered by Russia and the United States.
The award to Organization for Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, usually known by its initials OPCW, took Nobel-watchers by surprise.
In its citation, the committee said the OPCW and the conventions under which it was founded in 1997 “have defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law.”
Thorbjorn Jagland, former Norwegian PM who is chairman of the panel, said chemical weapons had been used by Hitler’s armies in their campaign of mass extermination and on many other occasions by states and terrorists. He denied that the award to a body based in The Hague represented a Eurocentric shift after last year’s award to the European Union.”It’s global,” he said.
What is the OPCW?
The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has been working since the 1990s as the body that implements the Chemical Weapons Convention, the first international treaty to outlaw an entire class of weapons.
What does the treaty do and who is a member?
The convention prohibits the development, production, acquisition, stockpiling, retention, transfer or use of chemical weapons. It came into force in 1997 and has been ratified by 189 states.
NON-SIGNATORIES include North Korea, Angola, Egypt and South Sudan. Israel and Myanmar have signed but not ratified the convention. Syria will be a member soon
What does the OPCW do?
The OPCW has conducted more than 5,000 inspections in 86 countries. It says 100 per cent of the declared chemical weapons stockpiles have been inventoried and verified.
Who runs the OPCW?
The OPCW is funded by its member states and had a budget of some $100 million in 2011. It employs some 500 people in The Hague. The director-general is Turkish diplomat Ahmet Uzumcu.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee received 259 valid nominations for 2013
The Nobel Peace Prizehas been awarded 94 times between 1901 and 2013. The 125 winners comprise 100 individuals and 22 separate organisations
Yemeni journalist Karman was only 32, and was the youngest ever laureate.
The oldest winner is Joseph Rotblat, who was 87 when he was awarded the prize in 1995.
Only 15 women have received the Nobel peace prize
Adolf hitler and Josef Stalin were nominated for the prize — Stalin in 1945 and 1948 for his efforts to end World War II and Hitler in 1939.