The International Olympic Committee are in discussions with a coalition of leading sport and human rights groups about how the human rights abuses perpetrated in the build-up to the Rio Olympics can be prevented in future.
Earlier this summer the Sports and Rights Alliance (which comprises Terre des Hommes, Amnesty International, Football Supporters Europe, Human Rights Watch, the International Trade Union Confederation, Transparency International Germany and UNI Global Union) presented a series of recommendations to the IOC to stop abuses caused or exacerbated by an Olympic event taking place. Discussions between the IOC and SRA have been ongoing since then, with a workshop between the organisations set to take place after the Rio Olympics, which begin this week.
The recommendations were being presented to international media at a press conference in Rio on Tuesday. They focus on the urgent need to include human rights provisions in the IOC’s processes and, as a first step, in the forthcoming revision of the 2024 Host City Contract (the next to be awarded) scheduled for later this year.
Since Rio was awarded the Games seven years ago, more than 22,000 families have been displaced, while in Rio last year one in five murders was at the hands of the police. The number of police killings has increased in the months running up to the Olympics. Human rights and child rights abuses linked to the World Cup and Olympics in Brazil are not isolated incidents, but rather another example of ‘Mega Sporting Events’ (MSEs) being held in countries with poor human rights records and without proper safeguards being put in place to prevent abuses. Other examples include Beijing 2008, Sochi 2014, Baku 2015 and Qatar 2022.
Andrea Florence, from Terre des Hommes, said: “Terre des Hommes has reported at length the devastating impact Mega Sporting Events can have on children and their families.
“In Rio, we have witnessed how children lose access to basic rights when families are evicted without due process or compensation. Children and adolescents in street situations were taken to young offenders’ units without having committed any criminal offence to ‘prepare’ the city for media visibility. What we are seeing today is the consequence of a contract that was signed seven years ago, when Rio was awarded the Games.
“This is why it is of utmost importance that the IOC includes explicit and binding international human rights, including specific child rights, and obligations in the forthcoming revision of the 2024 Host City Contract planned for after the Rio Olympics.
“In December 2014, the IOC showed leadership by introducing a series of reforms known as Agenda 2020. Today, we release key recommendations that detail how to put these reforms into practice. The 2024 Host City Contract represents a key opportunity for the IOC to take an important step in the path towards ending abuses related to the Games.”
The SRA have called for the following changes to be included in the 2024 Host City Contract:
* Include the obligation for the Host City to comply with international human rights, including child rights, and anti-corruption standards in MSE delivery, as well as all contracts with commercial partners and their supply chain.
* Include a provision on access to effective remedy in the event of human or child rights violations or incidents of corruption.
* Include sanctions, up to and including the termination of the contract, for non-compliance with obligations to respect human and child rights and anti-corruption standards.
* Require Olympic Committee to monitor and manage all impacts consistent with human and child rights obligations as well as report on actions taken, and make reports public.
The SRA have also asked the IOC to make a ‘public and explicit’ commitment to ensure that human and child rights are at the centre of all stages of planning an event, from initial bids, to putting the event on, to its legacy. It must require bidding cities and organising committees to develop processes to ensure rigorous monitoring of host countries and cities’ compliance with basic standards, and that there is accountability and justice for people who suffer abuses directly linked to the Games.
The recommendations include (among other measures):
* Bidding cities and national organising committees to assess the potential human and child rights impact of the Games, including labour standards and corruption due diligence, and include this assessment in bidding documents and make it publicly available.
* A clear stipulation to be included in all contracts with commercial partners that they must respect human rights, child rights, labour and anti-corruption standards throughout their supply chain.
* The IOC, bidding cities and national organising committees to ensure that athletes, vulnerable groups and NGOs are consulted on the human rights impact of the event and given a voice in decisions, and a process is developed to ensure that victims of abuses see justice.
* The bidding city to issue a human rights policy stating that it will comply with international human and child rights standards accompanied by government guarantees that human and child rights will be respected.
* Independent, external monitors to receive and act on complaints of human child rights and labour rights abuses and incidents of corruption linked to the Games or business relationships.
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