Nobel Committee Criticized over Unexpected Choice

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The Norwegian Nobel Committee is being criticized for an unexpected decision in awarding the Nobel Peace Prize.

The favorite to win the coveted prize this year was Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot in the head after standup up to the Taliban.

Instead, the prestigious award went to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons.

Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Nobel Committee, defended the choice.

"As I said, it is because of its long standing efforts to eliminate chemical weapons that we are now about to reach the goal to do away with the whole category of weapons of mass destruction," he said.

The OPCW was started in 1977 to enforce the chemical weapons convention, the first international treaty to outlaw an entire class of weapons.

Most of its work has been out of the spotlight, but this year the United Nations called on the organization to help investigate the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

"Events in Syria have been a tragic reminder that there remains much work still to be done," OPCW Director-General Ahmet Uzumcu told reporters in The Hague. "Our hearts go out to the Syrian people who were recently victims of the horror of chemical weapons."
 
"I truly hope that this award and the OPCW's ongoing mission together with the United Nations in Syria will (help) efforts to achieve peace in that country and end the suffering of its people," he said.
 
He said the $1.2 million prize money would be used "for the goals of the convention" - to eliminate chemical weapons.
 

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