Nobel Peace Prize Awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

Pakistani teen Malala Yousafzai loses out to Netherlands-based organization that verifies adherence to international treaty banning chemical weapons

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Peter Dejong / AP

The OPCW were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, Oct. 11, 2013

The Norwegian Nobel Committee awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Friday “for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons.”

The OPCW, which is based in The Hague, Netherlands, verifies adherence to the Chemical Weapons Convention, which outlawed the production or use of chemical weapons. A total of 189 countries have signed the Convention, which went into effect in 1997. “The Convention and the work of OPCW have defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law,” Norwegian Nobel Committee Chiarman Thorbjørn Jagland said during the announcement of the prize. “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.”

Sixteen-year-old Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafzai, who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban last year, was considered a leading contender for the Peace Prize. After the announcement, a reporter asked if Malala’s age or safety led her to be discounted as a Laureate. “The commitee never comments on those who didn’t get the prize,” Jagland said. He added that there are no official limitations on age, only that the prize cannot be awarded to someone posthumously.