Organization That Destroys Chemical Weapons Gets 2013 Nobel Peace Prize

The U.N. agency, based in The Hague, beat off a host of better-known contenders to win the gong for this year, announced in Oslo this morning.

A body charged with overseeing the destruction of chemical weapons has won this year's Nobel Peace Prize. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons was announced as the winner over a record 259 nominations, which included Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai, Chinese dissident Hu Jia, and a gynecologist who has treated rape victims of the Congolese conflict, Denis Mukwege. Russian premier Vladimir Putin had apparently been in the running. (And so had my mum. And the milkman. And the dog.)

The OPCW marked the occasion by sending a brief but to-the-point tweet:

The Nobel Committee stated that the watchdog, part of the United Nations, did not win for its current campaign in Syria, but rather for its "extensive efforts" to outlaw chemical weapons. Over 80% of the world's chemical weapons have been destroyed—as has the OPCW's website, which crashed soon after the announcement.

[Image: Flickr user Andreuchis]

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  • Bo Lagerqvist

    Alfred Nobel came up with the idea of using his money for these annual prizes after his brother, Ludvig, died in 1888 and a French newspaper mistakenly thought it had been Alfred Nobel himself who died. The newspaper published the obituary under the title: “The Merchant of Death is Dead”, going on to state: “Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” Alfred Nobel was directly involved in armaments through his 1894 purchase of the steel producing company Bofors which he put on course to become one of the world’s leading weapons manufacturers (who wolud accept a prize from such a company today) Between 1865-1921 also dynamite was manufactured at the Nobel factory at Vinterviken in the outskirts of Stockholm. There were manyexplosions and deaths. As a result of hosting almost a century of industry, Vinterviken is in fact, fraught with highly contaminated soil.