Child rights receive only a brief mention in an evaluation report by the International Olympic Committee on the Los Angeles and Paris bids to host the 2024 Olympic Games.
The Games of the XXXII Olympiad will be the first to have human rights specifically incorporated into its Host City Contract. As a member of the Sport and Rights Alliance, Terre des Hommes — which co-ordinates the Children Win campaign — helped the IOC to revise the contract earlier this year.
However while the report paints a glowing picture of the two cities’ commitment to sustainability in terms of environmental and ecological criteria, as required by the IOC’s Agenda 2020, it neglects to give much attention to child rights.
This could be, of course, because the bids are seen as “low risk and high reward” in terms of coming from developed nations, with no repeat expected of the issues which blighted the build-up to the 2016 Olympics, such as forced eviction and displacement, and police violence. More than 22,000 families were removed from their homes between 2009, when Rio was awarded the Olympics, and the Games.
In fact, Paris’ bid looks much further afield in addressing concerns over child rights connected to supply chains, for example goods and products sold in relation to the Olympics. If awarded the Games, it promises to meet international standards on child labour and human rights “for all types of contracts (goods, services, layout, catering sponsorship, etc)”.
The Evaluation Commission’s report is based on 15 months of research and two final visits to the candidate cities in May. Its written report focuses on four broad categories: Games Concept, Games Experience, Sustainability and Legacy and Games Delivery.
Commission chair Patrick Baumann said: “With both Los Angeles and Paris, the Olympic Games are in very good hands. Over the course of our evaluation, these two world-class cities proved their ability to host exceptional Olympic Games.
“In addition to an increased focus on transparency, sustainability and legacy, Olympic Agenda 2020 led to much closer collaboration staged in three phases over 15 months between the IOC and candidate cities, providing Los Angeles and Paris with greater flexibility to design Games that meet their local needs.
“As a result, the candidatures are low risk and high reward — both for the Olympic Movement and for the cities.”
As required by Agenda 2020, both bids are almost totally reliant on existing or temporary infrastructure – meaning there should no human rights issues caused by construction. The report specifically states: “Paris 2024 venue plans require zero displacements of current residents.”
The report also states that LA 2024’s sustainability measures are “firmly rooted in long-term social value” and promise to “promote social cohesion through citywide community engagement initiatives, cultural festivals, sports and education programmes and communications campaigns”.
LA’s candidature has received much better backing from the local population, with 78% support among its citizens compared to 63% from the people of Paris for their bid. Public dissatisfaction at the costs involved in staging the Games was behind Budapest’s decision to withdraw from the bidding process in February.
Either Los Angeles or Paris will be announced as the host for the 2024 Games at the 130th IOC Session in Lima, Peru in September. The other city is expected to be awarded the 2028 Games at the same time.