Committee made the right choice in Nobel Peace Prize winner
For once, it can be universally agreed upon that the Nobel committee was correct in its decision to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.
Last week, the Nobel committee recognized the OPCW for its most recent efforts in Syria and its anti-chemical weapons advocacy campaign over the past two decades.
While the race for the peace prize was a close one, it’s important the committee made the decision it did.
To award a group that is making a difference – instead of a political figure like 2009 peace prize-recipient President Barack Obama – signals a positive change for the committee as compared to years past.
In a statement, the committee explained its decision to award the OPCW.
“Disarmament figures prominently in Alfred Nobel’s will,” the statement read, according to The Guardian. “The Norwegian Nobel committee has through numerous prizes underlined the need to do away with nuclear weapons. By means of the present award to the OPCW, the committee is seeking to contribute to the elimination of chemical weapons.”
Upon receiving the award, OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu expressed gratitude.
“The news of the Nobel Peace Prize was really overwhelming,” Uzumcu said, according to the Washington Post. “I see it as a great acknowledgement of a success story.”
In addition, the timing of the announcement could not have been more perfect.
Right now, the OPCW is overseeing the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons stockpiles, according to the Washington Post.
Rather than award a group merely on principle, the committee has selected a group on action.
In its relatively brief existence, the OPCW has done a great deal to enforce the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1997.
According to the Washington Post, the OPCW has overseen the destruction of 55,100 tons of chemical weapons over the past two decades.
In enforcing the Chemical Weapons Convention, OPCW workers also deal with chemical weapons that were manufactured before 1946, according to the organization’s website.
Some countries that relinquished their chemical weapons to be destroyed included Russia, Albania, Libya, India, South Korea and the U.S., according to the Washington Post.
Since 1997, 89 additional nations have agreed to the Chemical Weapons Convention and pledged not to use such devices, according to the Washington Post.
The only countries that have not ratified or agreed to the OPCW’s enforcement of the Chemical Weapons Convention are Israel, Egypt, Syria, South Sudan, North Korea, Burma and Angola.
Clearly, the OPCW has left an indelible mark on the world.
In its actions, the OPCW has made the world a much safer place.
While all weapons are designed to inflict harm, chemical weapons are of a much different nature.
According to the organization’s website, chemical weapons have been used since the 1920s.
Chlorine, phosgene and sarin gases are examples of chemical weapons, according to the OPCW website.
Rather than spew political rhetoric and proclaim itself as an organization of saviors, the OPCW has been silent in its operation and noble in its quest.
One cannot fault the organization for that.
Shane Newell is a junior journalism major and the opinions editor at the Daily 49er.