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Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons

Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), international body (est. 1997) responsible for the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), which aims at the destruction of all chemical weapons. The CWC was adopted in 1992 and came into force in 1997. The OPCW, a relatively small, autonomous organization that has a working relationship with the United Nations, has 190 member states (which have acceded to or ratified the CWC), and oversees the destruction of existing chemical weapons stockpiles and works to prevent the use of such weapons throughout the world. Among its activities have been the destruction of stockpiles in Iraq, Libya, and Syria, the last occurring in the midst of a civil war. In 2013 the OPCW was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. See also chemical warfare.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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