12 Oct 2013

Chemical weapons monitors win Nobel Peace Prize

7:00 am on 12 October 2013

The Nobel Peace Prize has been awarded to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) which is overseeing the destruction of stockpiles in Syria.

Announcing the award in the Norwegian capital, Oslo, the Nobel committee praised the organisation for its extensive work in eliminating chemical weapons.

Established in 1997 to enforce the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Hague-based organisation recently sent inspectors to oversee the dismantling of Syria's stockpile of chemical weapons, the first time its monitors have worked in an active war zone.

OPCW director general Ahmet Uzumcu said the award was a "great honour" and would spur it on in its work, the BBC reports.

He said the Syria mission was the first time the OPCW had worked to such a short timeframe and in an ongoing conflict, and that it was "conscious of the enormous trust" placed on it by the international community.

There had been widespread speculation the prize might go to the Pakistani schoolgirl and education campaigner, Malala Yousafzai, who survived being shot by the Taliban.