The International Olympic Committee (IOC) Honorary President and UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Youth Refugees and Sport, Jacques Rogge, concluded a mission in Ethiopia visiting young South Sudanese refugees last week. Accompanied by IOC Member in Ethiopia Dagmawit Girmay Berhane, he vowed to help provide young refugees with more opportunities to play sport.
Visiting the Kule and Tierkidi refugee camps in Gambella, where over 200,000 people have sought refuge since violence flared in their homeland two years ago, Rogge met many young refugees and their families. The former IOC President also watched a number of boys and girls take part in various sporting activities, from athletics to football and volleyball games.
He said: “Sport is a great peace factor. I believe that when teams face each other in refugee camps, they learn to foster respect, reconciliation and friendship.”
The UN Special Envoy took this opportunity to stress the health benefits, and the educational, development and social value of sport and physical activity for youth refugees, asserting that measures will be taken to offer greater access to sport, as the IOC looks to invest in sports facilities and programmes in the region.
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Taking action for youth refugees
This was the IOC Honorary President’s second field trip with UNHCR since being appointed a UN Special Envoy in 2014. Last October, Jacques Rogge visited the Azraq Refugee Camp in Jordan, which celebrated its first anniversary earlier this month with a week of celebrations, and cultural and physical activities.
To mark this occasion, the camp officially inaugurated the multi-purpose sports ground funded by the IOC. In addition to providing the facility, the IOC, together with local partners, will also implement a full programme for children to play sports including football, volleyball, basketball, field hockey, and handball, in addition to taking part in the recreational programme already underway in the camp.
Learn more about the IOC’s cooperation with the UN
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