FIFA’s Human Rights Advisory Board has issued a formal statement related to its second meeting held in Zurich on October 9 and 10, 2017.
Launched by world football’s governing body in March 2017, the board has been established following the recommendations of an independent report by Harvard professor John Ruggie. It comprises eight international experts ranging from the United Nations and civil society to trade unions and businesses. Terre des Hommes has been appointed as a member of this human rights advisory board. In joining the board, Terre des Hommes provides, in an independent way, and pro bono, its expertise for human rights and specifically child rights to be addressed across FIFA’s operations.
The statement read: “We welcomed the frank and in-depth discussions of FIFA’s progress on a range of human rights challenges at the Advisory Board’s second in-person meeting for 2017, held in Zurich over 9-10 October.
“We have been active since our initial meeting in March, including through regular exchanges and calls with the FIFA administration and with external stakeholders, as well as developing our first biannual report provided for under the Board’s terms of reference. We revised our initial timeline for developing the report as we recognized that it needed to be more comprehensive than simply a report of our first in-person meeting and should instead set a baseline for the Advisory Board’s work going forwards.
“We finalized our section of the report in September. Our section – Part A – describes our first five months of work from March to August 2017, and makes recommendations to FIFA on how to strengthen its implementation of its human rights commitments across the core elements of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We also reviewed and commented on a draft of FIFA’s response – Part B – that was prepared by the secretariat to the Board (FIFA’s Sustainability and Diversity Department), in line with our terms of reference.
“The report covers a wide range of issues and challenges facing FIFA in embedding its human rights commitments into its established work on sustainability, while also recognizing the work that has been done to date. We have been informed that the full report will be formally presented to the FIFA Council for its information at its upcoming meeting on 27 October, 2017 in Calcutta, India. We expect the public release of the report one week after the FIFA Council meeting.
“During our two-day meeting in Zurich we discussed a wide range of topics related to FIFA’s human rights commitments, including: the organization’s policy commitment regarding the protection of human rights defenders and journalists; the importance of understanding human rights issues for male and female players at all levels of the game; ongoing work by FIFA and the responsible local entities to address impacts on construction workers’ rights, including health and safety, in connection with both the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups in Russia and Qatar; and the need to ensure systematic consideration of human rights in decision-making by FIFA’s governance bodies.
“We again engaged with a range of responsible staff from across the Administration, and we remain encouraged by the efforts to advance FIFA’s human rights commitments as set out in the organization’s new Human Rights Policy. We urge FIFA to step up its communication on its efforts to prevent and address human rights impacts connected to its operations.
“Our work now is focused on going deeper into a series of priority topics and on formulating more regular and timely recommendations in between our formal meetings, which will be captured in our next biannual report in the first half of 2018.
“We welcome the fact that there will be a discussion of FIFA’s human rights work at the highest levels of the organization through the upcoming FIFA Council meeting, and we look forward to the release of our first report and to continuing to support and challenge FIFA in its ongoing work to meet its human rights commitments.”