The Commonwealth Games Federation has placed child rights at the heart of its first human rights policy statement, published this week.

The landmark statement was released during the Federation’s Executive Board meeting in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and makes specific reference to protecting the rights of children and other vulnerable groups in the planning and delivery of the Games, and throughout the Federation’s operations.

According to the Federation, all “programmes, activities and agreements with future host cities and partners will promote the protection and enjoyment of human rights”.

Commonwealth Games Federation Chief Executive, David Grevemberg CBE said: “The Commonwealth Games and Commonwealth Sport Movement have a well-established history and proud heritage of uniting diverse nations and cultures through the power of sport – through our Youth Games, our Glasgow 2014 partnership with UNICEF and the new standards for inclusivity and gender-equality that are being set at Gold Coast 2018.

This Human Rights Statement represents the next step in the CGF’s commitment to embed human rights within our governance, management systems, development, events, fundraising and marketing – and we are proud to be able to publish it here in Sri Lanka.”

Read the CGF Human Rights policy here.

The policy statement makes specific reference to respecting “all international human rights standards as enshrined within the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and the UN’s nine core international human rights treaties among them the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989).”

It states: “We are committed to the Commonwealth Charter (2013) and to other regional human rights charters and instruments as may be locally applicable to our operations. The CGF recognises that some rightsholders, for example children, are particularly vulnerable and will be guided by other international human rights standards, codes and principles – such as the Children’s Rights and Business Principles – where their provisions can further support our efforts to respect the rights of particular affected groups.”

It also pledges to implement UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and “embrace” the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, and seeks to mitigate the risk to ” vulnerable groups such as women and children” when creating supply chains for goods and services.

The Federation says it will undergo an “ongoing process of human rights due diligence” including the “mapping our relationships, to identify where our activities and those of our partner organisations, might adversely impact people’s human rights and to prevent and mitigate the most salient risk”.

The aim of this work is to publish a human rights policy and human rights due diligence strategy ahead of the CGF general assembly in March 2018 for ratification.

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