Statement by the OPCW Director-General on the 2013 Nobel Prize for Peace

11 October 2013
 OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü addresses the media on 11 October.

OPCW Director-General Ahmet Üzümcü addresses the media on 11 October.

The decision by the Nobel Committee to bestow this year’s Peace Prize on the OPCW is a great honour for our Organisation.

We are a small organisation which for over 16 years, and away from the glare of international publicity, has shouldered an onerous but noble task – to act as the guardian of the global ban on chemical weapons that took effect in 1997.

That year, a hundred-year effort was crowned with success as the Chemical Weapons Convention entered into force.

Our organization was tasked to verify the elimination of chemical weapons from the world and to encourage all nations to adhere to this hard-earned norm. 

We have since then worked with quiet determination to rid the world of these heinous weapons – weapons which have been used to horrific effect throughout the twentieth century, and, sadly, in our own time too.

Events in Syria have been a tragic reminder that there remains much work yet to be done. Our hearts go out to the Syrian people who were recently victims of the horror of chemical weapons.

Today we are engaged in work which is meant to ensure that this atrocity is not repeated.

Never in the history of our organisation have we been called on to verify a destruction program within such short timeframes – and in an ongoing conflict.

We are conscious of the enormous trust that the international community has bestowed on us.

Working to realize the vision of a world free of chemical weapons, we rely on the expertise, professionalism and dedication of our staff – qualities that have been forged through a solid record of achievement.

This would clearly not be possible without the steadfast support and commitment of our States Parties.

The recognition that the Peace Prize brings will spur us to untiring effort, even stronger commitment and greater dedication.

I truly hope that this award, and the OPCW’s ongoing mission together with the United Nations in Syria, will help broader efforts to achieve peace in that country and end the suffering of its people.

I take this opportunity to commend all those who have contributed to making the ban on chemical weapons an enduring and universal norm.

I look forward to accepting this award in humility and in recognition of the professionalism of our staff, both past and present, and the strong support we have received from our States Parties.

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