Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director General Ahmet Uzumcu speaks at a press conference in The Hague, the Netherlands, Oct. 11, 2013. The OPCW was awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize "for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons" Friday. (Xinhua/Pan Zhi)
OSLO, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW)has been awarded the 2013 Nobel peace prize "for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons."
Announcing the decision on Friday, Thorbjoern Jagland, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee, said that since its coming into being in 1997, the OPCW, which is based in The Hague, the Netherlands, has sought to implement the 1992-93 convention for the prohibition of production, storage and use of chemical weapons.
The chemical attack in Syria months back was cited by the the Nobel Committee as the most recent incident of chemical weapons being put to use, which highlights "the need to enhance the efforts to do away with such weapons."
In a statement read out by Jagland at the packed press conference, the United States and Russia, in particular, were singled out as the states which have failed to observe the April 2012 deadline for destroying chemical weapons.
"It is natural that we now come back to the topic of disarmament and arms control" and the OPCW was on the table from the very beginning when the committee considered this year's winner, said Jagland.
Chemical weapons were used significantly in the First World War, resulting in the Geneva Convention in 1925 banning the use but not the production and storage of chemical weapons, said the statement issued by the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
During The Second World War, chemical agents were used extensively in the Nazi concentration camps in Europe to kill captives. Later, chemical weapons have been used several times by both states and terrorists .
The OPCW currently with 189 members is an international organization tasked with implementing the 1992-93 convention for the prohibition of chemical weapons. It entered into force in 1997.
Since mid-August this year, the OPCW has been in Syria making efforts to destroying chemical weapons.
The OPCW has become an important instrument for resolving the crisis in Syria and "we see here how a multilateral framework and a multilateral organization appears to be a good, perhaps the only instrument to resolve an international crisis," said Jagland.
Norwegian lawyer Fredrik S. Heffermehl, one of the strong critics in Norway to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, described as "a half-hearted tribute to (Alfred) Nobel" the Nobel peace prize for the OPCW, which was seen by many as the least controversial in comparison with the prize decisions over the past four years.
Admitting that the Norwegian Nobel Committee is correct in stating that disarmament figures prominently in Alfred Nobel's testament, Heffermehl asked: Why does the committee always hide that what Nobel wished to support was a great plan for abolition of all weapons in all countries.
"The committee's best kept secret is that Nobel wished to demilitarize international relations, not only civilize war but abolish it, " said the Norwegian lawyer.
The 2013 Nobel peace prize falls into a pattern where Norwegian politicians misuse the prize "to honor fellow statesmen and serve Western official policies or dissidents in non-Western countries," said Heffermehl.
Thorbjorn Jagland, who was a former Norwegian prime minister and foreign minister, has used the prize "to pat the back" of U.S. President Barack Obama in 2009 and this year, the Norwegian Nobel Committee is "helpful once again with its prize to the OPCW" as the United States has been confronting Syria, said the Norwegian lawyer.