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BACKGROUND

At the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in October 2015, confronted with the global refugee crisis that has seen an estimated 68.5 million people in the world displaced, IOC President Thomas Bach announced the creation of the Refugee Olympic Team – the first of its kind – to take part in the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

Ten months on from the announcement, the 10 athletes, who originally hailed from Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, were competing alongside 11,000 fellow athletes in Brazil, sending a message of hope and inclusion to millions of refugees around the world and inspiring the world with the strength of their human spirit.

In October 2018, with two years to go to the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, the IOC Session have decided that there will be a Refugee Olympic Team for Tokyo 2020 and mandated Olympic Solidarity to establish the conditions of participation and define the identification and selection process for a team in Tokyo. These elements will be carried out in close collaboration with the UN Refugee Agency UNHCR, the National Olympic Committees, the International Sport Federation and Tokyo 2020.

The announcement of the Tokyo 2020 Refugee Olympic Team members will be made in 2020.


IOC Refugee Olympic Team Tokyo 2020

During its meeting in Buenos Aires in October 2018, the IOC Session decided to create the IOC Refugee Olympic Team at Tokyo 2020. This decision builds on the legacy of the IOC Refugee Olympic Team Rio and is the continuation of the IOC’s commitment to play its part in addressing the global refugee crisis and to convey the message of solidarity and hope to millions of refugee athletes around the world.

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IOC Refugee Olympic Team Rio 2016

IOC President Thomas Bach announced at the United Nations General Assembly in October 2015 the creation of the Refugee Olympic Team – the first of its kind – to take part in the Olympic Games Rio 2016. Meet the 10 athletes, who originally hailed from Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, who were sending a message of hope and inclusion to millions of refugees around the world and inspiring the world with the strength of their human spirit.

Meet them here
Refugee Olympic Team

Olympic Refuge Foundation

Working in cooperation with the United Nations, international organisation, non-governmental organisations and other foundations, the Olympic Refuge Foundation supports the protection and empowerment of vulnerable displaced people through sport, and through the creation of safe spaces.

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Gallery

Men's Judo 90 kg
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Men's Judo 90 kg

Popole Misenga of The Refugee Olympic Team celebrates beating Avtar Singh of India in the Men's 90kg category at the Carioca Arena 2, on August 10, 2016.
IOC/David Burnett
Men's Judo 90 kg
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Men's Judo 90 kg

Popole Misenga of The Refugee Olympic Team (blue) competes against Avtar Singh of India in the Men's 90kg category at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Carioca Arena 2, on August 10, 2016.
IOC/David Burnett
Women's Judo 70kg
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Women's Judo 70kg

Yolande Bukasa Mabika of The Refugee Olympic Team competes against Linda Bolder of Israel (blue) in the Women's 70kg category at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Carioca Arena 2, on August 10, 2016.
IOC/David Burnett
Men's Judo 90 kg
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Men's Judo 90 kg

Popole Misenga of The Refugee Olympic Team (blue) competes against Avtar Singh of India in the Men's 90kg category at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at the Carioca Arena 2, on August 10, 2016.
IOC/David Burnett
Syrian refugee Mardini (ROT) swims for joy after swimming for her life
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Syrian refugee Mardini (ROT) swims for joy after swimming for her life

Getty Images
Yolande Mabika, Member of the Refugee Olympic Team
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Yolande Bukasa Mabika, Member of the Refugee Olympic Team

IOC/Douglas Engle
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Cooperation with the UN

The United Nations (UN) has long recognised the contribution of sport for development and peace, and collaboration between the IOC and the UN has played a central role in spreading the acceptance of sport as a means to promote internationally agreed development goals. In 2015, in a historic moment for sport and the Olympic Movement, sport was officially recognised as an “important enabler” of sustainable development and included in the UN’s Agenda 2030.

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SUPPORT TO YOUTH REFUGEES

The IOC continues to forge strong ties with UNHCR and contribute to a number of programmes for young people in refugee settlements, following the appointment of IOC Honorary President Jacques Rogge as Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General on Youth Refugees and Sport in 2014.

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