By Rebecca Shabad - 12/10/13 11:51 AM EST
The chemical weapons watchdog Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on Tuesday formally accepted this year’s Nobel Peace Prize.
“This is the first time that the Peace Prize has been awarded to an organization that is actively engaged in disarmament as a practical and ongoing reality,” its director-general Ahmet Uzumcu said in his acceptance speech in Oslo. “For sixteen years now, the OPCW has been overseeing the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. Our task is to consign chemical weapons to history forever.”
Syria agreed to join the chemical weapons convention in September after Russia and the United States pressured its government to relinquish its chemical arms to the international community. Intelligence reports in August revealed a major sarin gas attack had killed more than 1,400 people in Syria.
Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai was among this year’s peace prize nominees. She was considered a favorite for the award because of her commitment to promoting education for women, even after being shot by the Taliban.
Russian President Vladimir Putin was also nominated for this year’s peace prize.