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Children Win

IOC must prioritise Child Rights

The International Olympic Committee has been warned it must deliver on promises to protect human and child rights, ahead of the 130th IOC session in Lima, Peru next week.

The call comes from the international child rights organisation, Terre des Hommes, in a short film released this week.

‘Beyond Brazil’ recalls the violations of rights of Rio citizens, especially children, which took place in the build-up to the 2016 Olympics. This included 22,000 families being relocated to make way for Games infrastructure, and many people, including under-18s, being incarcerated by security forces.

The film commends the IOC for subsequently adding human rights criteria into the Host City Contracts for 2024 and 2028, which will be held in Paris and Los Angeles respectively.

But serious concerns remain over how the criteria will be implemented, the lack of dialogue around this subject, and that human and child rights were a “neglected area” in the official bids by Paris and Los Angeles.

Furthermore the new Host City Contract does not apply to Olympic Games which were previously awarded, such as Tokyo 2020, and the 2018 and 2022 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea and Beijing, China.

Marc Joly is Head of Campaign for Terre des Hommes’ ‘Children Win’ campaign, which seeks to preserve and protect the rights of young people affected by Mega Sporting Events.

He said: “We were encouraged by the IOC’s decision earlier this year to incorporate reference to the UN Guiding Principles of Business and Human Rights into its Host City Contracts for the 2024 and 2028 Games.

“However many questions remain unanswered about how these promises on paper are turned into reality, and we are concerned at the apparent lack of focus on this area in the bid documents of Paris and Los Angeles.

“The focus on environmental sustainability by Paris 2024 means there is unlikely to be a repeat of the appalling scenes in Rio with children and families being forcibly removed from their communities, but many other child rights issues must be addressed at these and other Games – from child labour in the production of goods to the ‘left-behind’ children of migrant workers.

“Furthermore now the IOC have taken this important initial step, we call on it to specifically focus on human rights around Mega Events in South Korea, Japan and China.”

The host cities for the 2024 and 2028 Games were originally due to be announced at the IOC session in Lima on September 13 to 17, after Budapest followed Hamburg and Rome in pulling out of the running to host the 2024 Games.

However it has already been agreed that Paris will host the 2024 Games and LA in 2028, and instead the cities will now use the session to sign the Host City Contracts, which are the first to benefit from the IOC’s Agenda 2020 and demonstrate an increased emphasis on sustainability and legacy.

For media enquiries and interview opportunities, please contact: Marc Joly, Terre des Hommes, marc.joly@terredeshommes.org

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