Nobel Peace Prize Goes To Weapons Watchdog

A global chemical weapons watchdog based in The Hague has won this year's Nobel Peace Prize.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee handed the award to the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) "for its extensive efforts to eliminate chemical weapons".

"The conventions and the work of the OPCW have defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law," the committee said.

"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."

However, in a tweet the committee stressed the OPCW had not been given the peace prize for its work in Syria.

The little-known OPCW was founded in 1997 to implement the Chemical Weapons Convention signed on January 13, 1993.

It is currently supervising the dismantling of Syria's chemical arsenal and facilities under the terms of a UN Security Council resolution.

The head of the UN weapons inspection team working with the OPCW in Syria said the prize would help boost the group's efforts to enforce bans on chemical arms and dismantle existing stockpiles.

"It's really great," Ake Sellstrom told Swedish public broadcaster SVT. "This is a powerful pat on the back that will strengthen the organisation's work in Syria."

The OPCW said on Tuesday it was sending a second wave of inspectors to bolster the disarmament mission in the war-ravaged nation.

Since it came into existence, it has destroyed 57,000 tons of chemical weapons, the majority left over from the Cold War and held by the US and Russia.

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot by the Taliban, was among those tipped to lift the peace prize.

A Taliban spokesman said they were "delighted" the 16-year-old had missed out. "She did nothing big, so it's good she didn't get it," he told AFP.

Had Malala won, she would have become the youngest-ever Nobel laureate.

On Thursday she was named the winner of the EU's Sakharov prize, which is considered Europe's top human rights accolade.

Previous Nobel Peace Prize laureates include Nelson Mandela, US President Barack Obama and the Dalai Lama.

In 2012 the prize was awarded to the European Union in recognition of its contribution to peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.

The peace prize was the last of the original Nobel prizes to be announced for this year. The winners of the economics award, added in 1968, will be revealed on Monday.