Human and child rights are a “neglected area” in Paris and Los Angeles 2024 bids. This shows a report from the ‘Institute of Human Rights and Business’ (IHRB). The Games of the XXXII Olympiad will be the first to have human rights specifically incorporated into its Host City Contract, but without a clear commitment to protect and respect human rights.
MISSING HUMAN RIGHTS
The IHRB has published a briefing and overview on what the IOC Evaluation reports on each candidate’s city approach towards human rights. Moreover, it is stressing strengths and challenges of the IOC Evaluation.
Even if both bidding cities, which are the first to benefit from IOC’s Agenda 2020, demonstrate an increased emphasis on sustainability and legacy, clear commitments in terms of human rights are missing. Children’s rights are even seen as “neglected area”, receiving only a brief mention related to sourcing for Paris.
Since children are more vulnerable than adults and need specific support to guarantee that their rights are upheld, IOC and the bidding cities should adopt an explicit child rights focus to ensure the right action is taken to address the potential impact that these events can have on children. The IOC Evaluation reports neglects child rights, and human rights more broadly.
“No clear policy commitment on protecting and respecting human rights has been made (…) nor has an indication been given that such policies would be implemented if the bid were successful.”
“Despite the increased collaboration between the IOC and candidate cities borne out of Agenda 2020, when it comes to protecting and respecting human rights, the bids to some extent suffer from a lack of policy coherence.”
“The Evaluation Commission and IOC itself could and should do more to explicitly clarify how the bids meet the new human rights requirements.”
“The new reference to the human rights guiding principles and anti-corruption standard certainly was a groundbreaking step by the IOC” said Marc Joly, Head of the Children Win campaign at Terre des Hommes. “However, the tougher part starts now: it is paramount that this change on paper will be translated by the IOC and the Host City into meaningful and concrete changes and actions on the ground. The report emphasizes the lack of commitment to protect and respect human and child rights. Terre des Hommes will take a close, but constructive look at this upcoming development.”
DUE DILIGENCE AND REMEDY
The IOC evaluation of the Paris and L.A. bids, for instance, makes no explicit reference to the human rights due diligence processes or remedy mechanisms at any stage of the lifecycle of the Olympic Games. It is not clear how the selected city is going to implement these crucial mechanisms.
As stated in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, access to remedy is a key component of the sport governing bodies’ responsibility to respect human rights. It is thus of utmost importance for the IOC and the bidding cities to clarify the grievance mechanisms put in place. Affected people, and especially vulnerable groups such as children, need to be able to seek redress through effective judicial and non-judicial grievance mechanisms.
BIDDING 2024 WITHOUT LOSER
Bidding cities must commit to protect and respect human rights for the first time. The Host City Contract has been revised based on the recommendations from the ‘Sport and Rights Alliance’ (SRA). The SRA is a coalition of leading rights, transparency, and athletes’ organizations of which Terre des Hommes is a member. This revised Contract will target and affect the 2024 Summer Olympics.
The contract revision requires host cities to “protect and respect human rights and ensure any violation of human rights is remedied in a manner consistent with international agreements, laws and regulations applicable in the Host Country and in a manner consistent with all internationally-recognized human rights standards and principles, including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, applicable in the Host Country”.
Either Los Angeles or Paris will be announced as host for the 2024 Olympic Summer Games at the 130th IOC Session held in Lima/Peru in September 2017. This time there will be no loser as the IOC has decided that the following 2028 Olympic Games is simultaneously expected to be awarded to the runner-up.