A report by the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) acknowledges the important contribution of sport and the Olympic ideal, as well as the work undertaken by the IOC, to promoting and strengthening universal respect for human rights for all, and to development and peace more generally.
The report states: “Sport and the Olympic ideal can also be a means to advance the cause of peace, promote development and combat all forms of discrimination. Sport is important in promoting human rights worldwide through interaction between different people and races. It unites many people on one issue irrespective of race, religion, and background. Discrimination could wither away with sport because sport teaches people co-operation, coordination and respect for others. In sport people from different cultures have the opportunity to work together in a team spirit. The universality of sport and Olympic ideals can educate people with regard to the values of respect, diversity, tolerance and fairness and serve as a means to combat all forms of discrimination and promote a coherent society.”
Representing the IOC President Thomas Bach at the 27th Session of the HRC, where the report was recently tabled, the Chair of the IOC Athletes’ Commission and Executive Board member Claudia Bokel delivered the IOC message in response to the report.
The IOC’s message reinforced the IOC’s position that more needs to be done in the areas of child protection, women’s participation in sport, investments in sports infrastructure, athlete development and codes of conduct for sports organisations.
The IOC also spoke about the importance of strong partnerships between the sports movement, governments and national and international organisations, and urged governments everywhere to increase investment in sport so that everyone can benefit from greater access to safe, inclusive and adapted sport and its positive values.
The IOC, which was granted UN Observer Status in 2009, has long enjoyed strong ties with individual UN agencies, working with them globally and for many years on a number of initiatives that use sport as a tool for development and peace. These ties were substantially strengthened in April this year when IOC President Thomas Bach and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon signed an agreement at the UN headquarters in New York aimed at boosting collaboration between the two organisations at the highest level.
The agreement signed in April recognises the goal of the IOC and the Olympic Movement to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport without discrimination of any kind. It also calls for respect of the autonomous organisation of sport.