On “This Week” Sunday, International Rescue Committee CEO and Britain’s former foreign secretary David Miliband noted the irony of a chemical weapons monitoring group winning the Nobel Peace Prize despite the recent use of the weapons in Syria.
“I think the chemical weapons inspectors do amazing work, but the truth is that they probably wouldn’t have gotten this prize if President Assad hadn’t used chemical weapons,” Miliband said of the Nobel Peace Prize win Friday by the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). “It’s a bit of an irony that you’ve got this body that’s done 15 years of important work, it takes the abuse of chemical weapons.”
The group has worked for years on eliminating the world’s chemical weapons stockpiles, and is currently teamed with the United Nations in Syria to locate and remove that country’s chemical arsenal.
Miliband warned that though the OPCW’s work in Syria has made a difference, it does not solve the problem of the country’s ongoing civil war.
“I think there’s an aspiration in the announcement, but there’s also a danger, let’s be honest,” Miliband said. “1,400 people were killed with chemical weapons, 120,000 people have been killed in all. Seven million people displaced from their homes. And people like me, running an organization like the International Rescue Committee, we’re concerned that people think that somehow, because the chemical weapons seem to be addressed, that the Syrian conflict, the regional conflict, is done and dusted.”
Also responding to the recent Nobel Peace Prize award, co-founder & CEO of the Malala Fund Shiza Shahid said Malala Yousafzai – the 16-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot by the Taliban and who many expected to win the award – took the announcement in stride.
“[Malala] said to me jokingly yesterday, ‘If I ignore the Nobel committee’s decision, I already feel like I’ve won, because people all over the world have been sending in love and prayers,’” Shahid said. “So she wasn’t expecting it. She said ‘I have a lot of work to do’ and that’s what she’s focusing on and she’s wished the OPCW luck in their tremendous task.”
Although Malala was a favorite for this year’s Nobel Peace Prize, Shahid said that she would have many more opportunities in the future.
“I mean she’s 16… I think she has many, many years ahead of her to win the prize,” Shahid said. “In Pakistan, people were hopeful and expecting it, but I think it really brought the nation together around a cause and it served its purpose with the nomination.”