With 50 days to go until the Olympic Games, Terre des Hommes general secretary Ignacio Packer has vowed to intensify pressure to tackle human rights violations against the children of Rio.
The eyes of the world will focus on the troubled city in August, with athletes from 200 countries competing, and half a million spectators expected to attend the Games.
But the build-up has been soured by reports of police brutality, ‘social cleansing’ of favelas surrounding Olympic venues and heightened risk of child labour, neglect and sexual exploitation resulting from this displacement.
Terre des Hommes’ Children Win campaign is fully focused on making sure the disastrous impact of the Games on Rio’s most vulnerable young citizens is not lost amongst the tales of sporting heroism.
“The message of our Children Win campaign is that Mega Sporting Events should not harm children,” said Packer.
“In Rio we know that at least 4,120 families were evicted up to December last year and 2,486 more had been threatened with forced removal to make way for projects linked, directly or indirectly, to the Olympics.
“These evictions mean children in these areas have no access to water, no infrastructure and no schools to go to.
“A secondary impact is that many of these children could become victims of exploitation, child labour and sexual violence.
“First progressive signs were registered in recent weeks when the IOC reacted to some cases of evictions and showed its disposition to meet with affected people from Brazil.
“We are calling upon the IOC and all organisers of Mega Sporting Events to take their full responsibility to respect human rights, and independently monitor the impact on the most vulnerable in society.”