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The 2013 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), a chemical weapons watchdog group that is currently working in Syria to oversee the destruction of chemical weapons there.
The group was created in 1997 and has 189 member states, which have all agreed to ban the use, creation and stockpiling of chemical weapons, notes Bloomberg.
In its announcement, the Nobel Committee in Oslo praised the OPCW for having “defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law.” It continued, “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.”
While the group is currently making headlines for its work in Syria, CNN reports that committee chairman Thorbjorn Jagland made it clear that the prize is for the group’s overall work. “It is because of its long-standing efforts to eliminate chemical weapons and that we are now about to reach the goal and do away with a whole category of weapons of mass destruction,” Jagland said. “That would be a great event in history, if we can achieve that.”
“I truly hope that this award ... will help broader efforts to achieve peace in that country and (ease) the suffering of its people,” OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu said Friday. He hopes the award will “spur us to untiring effort, even stronger commitment and greater dedication.”
Many around the world had been pulling for Malala Yousafzai to win. The teenage Pakistani girl has been a powerful voice around the world for women’s education over the past year. “Fortunately, we have many good candidates every year, actually this year, more than 250. And the woman you mentioned, Malala, is an outstanding woman, but we never comment on why she or others didn't get the prize,” Jagland explained to CNN. “The right answer is that she didn't get the prize, because OPCW got it. She and others will probably be candidates in the years to come.”
This year’s prize also continues a trend of giving it to organizations, rather than a single person. Last year’s winner was the European Union, which has held together despite economic turmoil.