IOC President announces participation of top-level refugee athletes in the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016.
The 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly today approved a resolution for observance of the Olympic Truce for the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro next summer. The resolution was supported by 180 out of 193 UN member states.
Speaking to the General Assembly in New York on Monday, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach reiterated the important role that sport and the Olympic ideals can play at the service of society by promoting peace, fair play, tolerance and understanding.
“The Olympic Games are the time when the values of tolerance, solidarity and peace are brought to life. This is the time when the international community comes together for peaceful competition,” said the IOC President. “In the Olympic Village, we see tolerance and solidarity in their purest form. Athletes from all 206 National Olympic Committees live together in harmony and without any kind of discrimination. This is the true spirit of ‘Olympic Unity in Diversity’ – athletes from every corner of the world, living together under one roof,” he added.
The resolution calls for the Olympic Truce to be respected from seven days before the start of the Olympic Games until seven days after the Paralympic Games.
During his address to the General Assembly, the President also appealed for help from the member nations to identify top-level athletes who are currently refugees.
“At present, none of these athletes would have the chance to participate in the Olympic Games even if qualified from the sports point of view because, with their refugee status, they are left without a home country and National Olympic Committee to represent,” he told them. Announcing that the International Olympic Committee will invite the highest qualified refugee athletes to participate in the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016, President Bach added, “having no national team to belong to, having no flag to march behind, having no national anthem to be played, these refugee athletes will be welcomed to the Olympic Games with the Olympic flag and with the Olympic anthem. They will have a home together with all the other 11,000 athletes from 206 National Olympic Committees in the Olympic Village. This will be a symbol of hope for all the refugees in our world, and will make the world better aware of the magnitude of this crisis.”
The resolution, entitled “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal,” was formally submitted to the General Assembly on behalf of the Olympic Movement and Brazil by the Organising Committee of the Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro 2016, led by its President, Carlos Nuzman.
President Bach underlined that the Organising Committee is working to deliver an inclusive Olympic Games.
“The values of tolerance, solidarity and peace are a central part of Rio de Janeiro’s legacy for the Brazilians. These will be inclusive Games – and a unique opportunity to showcase sport as a key tool for peace, social inclusion and tolerance, and in the fight against racial, ethnic or gender discrimination. Through the Olympic Games, the Brazilian people will remind the world of their unique combination of passion and efficiency.” President Bach said.
The Olympic Games Rio de Janeiro will take place from 5 to 21 August 2016 and be followed by the Paralympic Games from 7 to 18 September 2016.
The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit independent international organisation made up of volunteers, which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of USD 3.25 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.
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