The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Friday to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, the watchdog group that has risen to sudden prominence over the past month in the effort to divest Syria of such munitions.
“Disarmament figures prominently in Alfred Nobel’s will,” said Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize Committee. While the committee has, in the past, recognized those campaigning to eliminate nuclear weapons, Friday’s announcement shows its support for ridding the world of chemical ones as well, Jagland declared at a news conference in Oslo.
The OPCW, based in The Hague, was chosen from a record pool of 259 nominees for the world’s most prestigious prize.
Among the other high-profile candidates were Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager who survived an assassination attempt by the Taliban, and Denis Mukwege, a doctor in the Democratic Republic of Congo who has treated thousands of victims of sexual violence. Malala, 16, would have been the youngest-ever recipient of the prize.
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