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Children Win

Independent centre for sport and human rights to be created

Terre des Hommes is supporting the launch next year of a new independent centre aimed at preventing human rights violations in and around sport in the future.

Announced at the Sporting Chance Forum in Geneva this week, plans for the centre are being backed by a diverse coalition, including FIFA, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Commonwealth Games Federation, and UEFA, as well as a range of intergovernmental organisations, governments, athletes, hosts, sponsors, broadcasters, civil society representatives, trade unions, employers associations, and national human rights institutions.

This broad coalition, of which Terre des Hommes is a member, is currently known as the Mega Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights (MSE Platform). A joint statement was published by the coalition affirming their commitment to establish the centre aimed at sharing knowledge, building capacity, and ensuring transparency and accountability of the range of actors involved in sport and mega sporting events.

Read the joint statement here.

The announcement was made at the Forum by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, in her role as Chair of the MSE Platform.

She said: “For decades, diverse organisations involved in sport have worked apart, limiting the potential to meaningfully tackle human rights abuses linked to sport and mega-sporting events. Over the last two years, our coalition has shown how this challenging subject can be addressed through new forms of cooperation. In 2018, collective action will become a permanent feature in the world of sport, through the creation of an independent centre for sport and human rights.”

The Sporting Chance Forum in Geneva is a gathering of 200 global leaders and experts on sport and human rights, hosted by the Swiss Federal Department for Foreign Affairs, IHRB, and the MSE Platform.

Also speaking at the Forum, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “We welcome the intention of the Steering Committee, of which the IOC is a member, to establish an independent centre for sport and human rights. We look forward to supporting this process and are ready to do our part.”

This year the IOC have, for the first time, incorporated human rights criteria into the Host City Contracts for the 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games, awarded to Paris and Los Angeles respectively.

Bach said: “We have raised the bar even higher with regards to protecting human rights at the Olympic Games. We are very pleased that in making these changes, we worked in close consultation with a number of different stakeholders, in particular the Sport and Rights Alliance.

We are happy to participate in the MSE Platform because it is a reflection of our belief in the role and relevance of sport in our world today. It is also a reflection of our firm belief in the power of dialogue and collective action.”

Read the full speech of IOC President Thomas Bach at the Sporting Chance Forum here.

John Morrison, Chief Executive of the Institute for Human Rights and Business — the secretariat to the MSE Platform, added: “The ambition motivating the centre’s creation is to ensure the rights of those touched by sport and sporting events are protected and respected. This means athletes play a direct role in the governance of their sports, workers are safe and fairly paid, communities have a say on the future of their neighbourhood, children’s specific needs are accounted for, fans can safely enjoy their games, and the press is able to freely report on sport stories.”

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