Nobel Peace Prize Exhibition 2013: Combating Chemical Weapons • Magnum Photos

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Theory & Practice

Nobel Peace Prize Exhibition 2013: Combating Chemical Weapons

A rare insight into how the OPCW monitor, identify and destroy chemical weapons

Paolo Pellegrin

Paolo Pellegrin Respirators at the OPCW headquarters in Rijswijk. After every onsite inspection, all equipment is thoroughly checked and sterilized before re-use. The Hague, Netherlands. 2013 © Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum Photos
Paolo Pellegrin The laboratory at the OPCW headquarters in Rijswijk. Analytic chemists use the instruments shown here, gas chromatograph/mass spectrometers (GC/MS), to determine the composition of chemical samples (...)
Paolo Pellegrin A chief area of concern is a former military compound in southern Libya, where chemical weapons were stored in a number of bunkers. Today, the sprawling compound is heavily guarded by Libyan soldie (...)
Paolo Pellegrin Ruachra site. The newly arrived OPCW team tours the onsite facility where the chemical weapons removed from the storage bunkers will be destroyed. Al Juffra region, Libya. 2013. © Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum Photos
Paolo Pellegrin OPCW inspector team in the Ruachra site. This is a chemical wepons site roughly 700 kilometers south east of Tripoli and is made up of several bunkers containing weaponized sulphur mustard gas. (...)
Paolo Pellegrin OPCW inspectors test the hazardous materials (HAZMAT) suits and specialized gloves they will wear when entering the bunkers where chemical weapons

are stored. Al Juffra, Libya. 2013. © Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum Photos
Paolo Pellegrin Ruachra site. OPCW inspectors test the hazardous materials (HAZMAT) suits and specialized gloves they will wear when entering the bunkers where chemical weapons are stored. Al Juffra region, Libya. (...)
Paolo Pellegrin A chief area of concern is a former military compound in southern Libya, where chemical weapons were stored in a number of bunkers. Today, the sprawling compound is heavily guarded by Libyan soldie (...)
Paolo Pellegrin Phosphorus artillery shells recovered from a World War I battlefield. The shells are placed in water to reduce toxicity prior to their destruction. Poelkapelle, Belgium. 2013 © Paolo Pellegrin | Magnum Photos
Paolo Pellegrin It is so common for farmers and construction workers in southwestern Belgium to dig up unexploded ordnance from World War I battlefields that a very simple system has been established for its colle (...)
Paolo Pellegrin The threat posed by chemical weapons affects peoples and nations throughout the world, as is illustrated by the multinational composition of the OPCW workforce. Among the 17 OPCW inspectors undergo (...)
Paolo Pellegrin Most OPCW inspectors have advanced degrees in chemistry and, even more importantly, military backgrounds. As a result, they come into OPCW with an existing knowledge on the proper handling and disp (...)
Paolo Pellegrin Because their work is so extraordinarily dangerous exposure to certain types of chemical weapons in their concentrated form can cause death within seconds OPCW inspectors are kept in a constant sta (...)
Paolo Pellegrin Because their work is so extraordinarily dangerous exposure to certain types of chemical weapons in their concentrated form can cause death within seconds OPCW inspectors are kept in a constant sta (...)
Paolo Pellegrin The threat posed by chemical weapons affects peoples and nations throughout the world, as is illustrated by the multinational composition of the OPCW workforce. Among the 17 OPCW inspectors undergo (...)

In the ninth consecutive Nobel Peace Prize Exhibition at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo, Norway, the audience got to experience the work of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) through an exhibition by world renowned photographer Paolo Pellegrin.

Pellegrin followed the inspectors closely in the weeks after it was announced that OPCW was  awarded the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize. With American war correspondent and writer Scott Anderson’s short texts, Pellegrin’s graphic and strong black and white images provided a rare insight into the daily lives of the weapon inspectors.

 

"Pellegrin had a unique access to document the sometimes hazardous work of the OPCW, and a photographer of his caliber gave the Nobel Peace Prize Exhibition a genuine power "

- Bente Erichsen, Executive Director of the Nobel Peace Center

The images in the exhibition Combating Chemical Weapons are taken in Libya, the Netherlands, Belgium and Serbia, and documents OPCW’s work abolishing chemical weapons of today and from WWI.

Very few have been allowed insight into the daily work of the weapon inspectors. In this exhibition, visitors could see and experience some of the hazardous work themselves.

The making of the official Nobel Peace Prize Exhibition is an annual occurrence that spans a mere eight weeks, from when the Chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee announces the new Peace Prize laureate, to when the exhibition is opened by the OPCW Director-General at the Nobel Peace Center in Oslo in December.

Combating Chemical Weapons was the ninth annual Nobel Peace Prize Exhibition.