Terre des Hommes has today exposed the devastating impact of the 2016 Olympic Games on thousands of children and young people in Rio.
In a briefing entitled Breaking Record: Child rights violations during Rio 2016 Olympics, violations committed before and during the Games are documented in full. Download the English version here and Portuguese version here.
The evidence, which includes statistics and video testimonies, tells of:
A legacy of Olympic evictions
According to official data 22,000 families were evicted from their homes since Rio was chosen to host the Olympics. Many were moved to a Government social housing programme (‘Minha Casa, Minha Vida’), more than half of which were at one point controlled by militia gangs. (Watch 12-year-old Pérola’s story here)
‘Cleaning’ the streets
Our interviews reveal strong evidence that police abuse of children and adolescents living on the streets increased, including severe beatings (Watch the story of homeless teenager Helena here).
Many youths were taken to juvenile detention centres without having committed a criminal offence which would justify their internment. The percentage of occupancy in juvenile detention centres in Olympic year reached an inhumane 224% – a 48% increase on 2015. Due to the severe levels of overcrowding and poor conditions, a fire broke out in a cell on the day of the Olympic opening ceremony. Two youths died and seven suffered severe burns (Watch youth worker Monica tell the full story here).
Increase in shootings and police killings
At least eight people (including two under-18s) were killed by the police over the course of the two weeks of the Games, and yet 90% of tourists rated security “good” or “excellent.” Residents of favelas reported intense days of shootings and children had to hide in toilet blocks in order to protect themselves.
Protesting teenagers brutally repressed by the police
Terre des Hommes’ investigation indicates that police used indiscriminate force against young people to break up peaceful protests against the negative impact of the Olympics, using tear gas, batons, hand grenades and rubber bullets. At least 75 under-18s were detained in protests for no apparent reason (One of them, Gabriel, tells his story here).
Terre des Hommes is dedicated to changing the game and breaking this pattern of violations linked to Mega Sporting Events. Reinforcing the minimum requirements made public by the Sport and Rights Alliance, the briefing concludes with a series of key recommendations to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
As a first step, Terre des Hommes urges the IOC to include clauses that guarantee the respect for child rights in the revision of the 2024 Host City Contract (expected for the fourth quarter of 2016).
Ignacio Packer, Terre des Hommes Secretary General, said: “Even though the Games are now over, our Children Win campaign remains dedicated to highlighting the plight of children and young people whose lives have been affected by the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“Furthermore at Terre des Hommes we remain resolute in our call to the International Olympic Committee – and all organising committees of Mega Sporting Events – to ensure that child rights become a fundamental and non-negotiable part of any Host City Contract and are embedded in the entire life cycle of these events.”
Today (September 29th), Terre des Hommes presents the main findings of the briefing in a public event in Geneva and discusses the recommendations with the IOC.
The event can be livestreamed on this link