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Ignacio’s positive outlook for child rights at Mega Sporting Events

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Terre des Hommes’ Secretary General Ignacio Packer has painted a positive picture for the protection of child rights at future Mega Sporting Events.

Ignacio took part in a panel discussion in Glasgow on Monday at Host City 2016, the world’s largest international conference for key stakeholders in major event bidding, delivery, venues and legacy.

During a discussion entitled, ‘Has Sport Lost Its Integrity and How Can It Win Confidence Back?’ Ignacio told delegates: “The sports sector is increasingly opening up to the human rights sectors.”

This optimism comes against a backdrop of criticism of the record of Mega Sporting Event organisers in protecting human and child rights. As highlighted by our evidence, the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2016 Olympic Games saw forced evictions, police killings, corruption and brutally repressed protests in Brazil.

Hosting the Olympics is now perceived as so problematic, expensive and socially damaging that many cities such as Rome are withdrawing from the process altogether.

Ignacio said: “The world of sport has certainly continued to face scrutiny over questions of integrity and transparency, and human rights violations linked to the organisation of Mega Sporting Events have certainly not been halted.

“But sport’s principal governing bodies have for the first time made explicit human rights commitments and taken steps towards embedding human rights considerations within bidding and selection processes.

“Sport governing bodies have also shown a new willingness to engage with human rights experts and practitioners in relation to the dilemmas they face.”

FIFA’s recent pledge to discuss the preservation of human rights at future World Cups, and initial signs of engagement from the IOC are evidence of this new willingness from organisers to include human rights as a key part of their decision-making processes.

Ignacio told delegates that Terre des Hommes and the rest of the Sport and Rights Alliance will continue to hold sport governing bodies to account to ensure that human and child rights become a fundamental and non-negotiable part of any Host Contract and are embedded in the entire life cycle of their events.

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