Chemical weapons watchdog wins the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize

The Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has won the 2013 Nobel peace prize.

The Hague-based global chemical weapons watchdog, supported by the United Nations, is currently aiming to help destroy Syria’s chemical weapons capacity by the beginning of November.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in News.


  • Jonathan Brown 12th Oct '13 - 2:16am

    That’s one way to devalue the meaning of the prize.

  • How does this award “devalue” the prize? Did you think the prize was devalued in 2005 when it was awarded to the IAEA for efforts to keep nuclear power from being used for military purposes? Was it devalued in 1997 when it was awarded to the ICBL for its efforts to ban landmines? Was it devalued in 1995 when it was awarded to Pugwash for its efforts to eliminate nuclear weapons? Was it devalued in 1985 when awarded to the IPPNW? I do not think your statement makes any sense.

  • Jonathan Brown 12th Oct '13 - 6:59pm

    As I understand it, the prize is given to promote the role individuals and organisations have had in either bringing about peace or at least to highlight their ongoing work in a specific conflict.

    To award it to the OPCW at a time like this is premature to say the least. The organisation (and I’m quite happy for the blame for this to be placed with UN Security Council members rather than the OPCW itself) has been impotent in the face of repeated chemical weapon attacks in Syria and while it now finally is doing something, that something is seen by Syrians to be a whitewashing.

    See this report by a Syrian friend of mine who’s been reporting from Syria and neighbouring countries since this began: “Fayez Sayigh, a member of the Syrian ruling party, told The Associated Press that the award underscores the credibility of the Syrian government.”

    I really hope Syria’s chemical weapons can and will be destroyed, but even if that happens (a huge ‘if’ I think), there is a very obvious danger that this process diverts attention from the real issues. Indeed, I suspect that’s why the regime is co-operating to the extent that it is.

    I have no reason to doubt the sincerity of the people who work for the OPCW, and perhaps the giving of the prize to the organisation was an attempt to boost it, but I fear it has backfired. It won’t help the organisation’s credibility or leverage with anyone if the disarmament process is seen by all of the conflict’s participants as nothing more than diplomatic cover for the ramping up of hostilities.

  • By the same logic the ICBL didn’t deserve the Prize because, omg, there are still landmines out there and there are still wars and we don’t have World Peace yet so nobody deserves a Peace Prize!

    This kind of criticism is silly. The OPCW was obviously nominated long before the recent events in Syria, and its technical work is of great importance in actually securing the elimination of poison gas and similar weapons, rather than just talking about it.

    Of course, I agree that “conventional” weapons are the cause of more destruction than chemical weapons, and I would like to see the complete elimination of *all* weapons of war, but realistically that’s not going to happen in my lifetime.

  • Jonathan Brown 13th Oct '13 - 9:19pm

    I know next to nothing about the other organisations that won the prize, or the decision making that went it them being awarded it, so can’t really comment on those. But I’m not claiming that no one can have a peace prize while there is still suffering in the world.

    The OPCW may have an admirable objective, but doesn’t seem to have achieved very much in recent years, hasn’t spoken out when chemical weapons have been used by Western forces in Iraq and Gaza, hasn’t done anything useful in Syria to prevent the use of chemical weapons – until now*… I have no objection to the prize going to people or organisations taking brave strides towards making the world a more peaceful place, even if they haven’t succeeded.

    But this award comes at a bizarrely illogical time. A time when the OPCW’s actions seem quite likely to be used to facilitate the continuation of war rather than reduce it. The regime seems to see it this way, as does the opposition. If Syria can be disarmed of it’s chemical weapons, that is of course a good thing. But surely it’s too soon to say if this is even a possibility!

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

If you are a member of the party, you can have the Lib Dem Logo appear next to your comments to show this. You must be registered for our forum and can then login on this public site with the same username and password.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • john oundle
    Simon R 'But are we sure that simply admitting these people to the UK and providing them all with shelter and the means to build lives here is actually a gen...
  • nigel hunter
    We can equally campaign to fully replace the Overseas Aid budget to help the countries that the refugees come from....
  • TonyH
    Yes I have to agree with the criticism here of the way some quotes are being mis-represented. I love Andy's passion for the campaign, but I think using the "her...
  • Alexander
    By that logic, as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson is the most credible person in the country. Maybe take into account her actual behaviour a...
  • Peter Watson
    In the article he is being criticised for, the Tory candidate writes, "I, like thousands of former clinicians, volunteered to head back to the coalface. There w...