The world’s media gathered in Rio today to hear the Sports and Rights Alliance outline their recommendations to the IOC to prevent breaches of human rights at future Olympic Games.
Since Rio was awarded the Olympics seven years ago, more than 22,000 families have been displaced, and last year one in five murders in the city was at the hands of the police. The number of police killings has only increased further in the months running up to the Olympics.
The SRA (of which Terre des Hommes is a key member) opened talks with the IOC earlier this summer. They focused on the urgent need to include human rights provisions in the host city awarding processes, specifically in the forthcoming revision of the 2024 Host City Contract (the next to be awarded) scheduled for later this year.
To raise awareness of the human rights breaches that have marred the build-up to this week’s Rio Olympics, 14-year-old Naomy from Vila Autodromo (star of our award-winning documentary The Fighter), spoke to the media today about her experience of being evicted from her home to make way for the Olympic Park.
“The Olympics themselves are not so bad; I want to be an athlete and win medals myself. But it was the way City Hall carried out the evictions. We were taken from our homes as if we were dogs,” she said.
Terres des Hommes’ Campaigner Andrea Florence added: “Children Win’s goal is to ensure child rights are respected during the whole life cycle of the Games. We need to learn from Brazil’s bitter experience and make sure this never happens again.”
The press conference also heard from Vitor Santiago, 30, who was left paralysed by a bullet fired by army ‘pacification’ forces in his community of Maré. He said: “I am a victim of the failure of public security in Rio. It was a violation of my right to come and go freely. It is important for me to speak out to prevent the same happening to others.”
Renata Neder from Amnesty International Brazil explained that police killings of civilians had increased by over 100% between April and June 2016 compared with the same period last year. “Human rights assessments must be carried out before granting host cities,” she commented.
Sylvia Schenk from Transparency International Germany concurred, and provided hope for the future: “The time has come to really make changes with the Host City Contract and the way the IOC operates. We are quite sure after our meeting last week with the IOC that there will be changes in the future.”
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.
For more on the SRA’s recommendations to the IOC, click here.