Protection and Respect of Human Rights

At all times, the IOC recognises and upholds human rights, as enshrined in both the Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Charter and the IOC Code of Ethics.

The IOC is committed to improving the promotion and respect of human rights within the scope of its responsibility across its three spheres of influence – as an organisation, as the owner of the Olympic Games and as the leader of the Olympic Movement.

The objective is to ensure that people’s rights are put at the core of our operations and are respected in line with international agreements and standards – within the remit of the IOC.

The IOC as an organisation

The IOC has already taken a number of steps to deliver on its human rights responsibilities in its own operations. It has increased the alignment of its existing strategies on sustainability and gender equality and inclusion with human rights standards; and it is working on its own procurement processes. In this regard, a Supplier Code was developed. With regard to due diligence, mapping of geographical and industry-specific risks has started, hand in hand with supplier engagement on identified salient risks. This work, in partnership with our suppliers across our value chain, is expected to be the focus of enhanced developments in the coming months and years.

Building a strategic approach

The development of an IOC human rights strategic framework aims to reinforce coherence and alignment, strengthen the IOC’s overall approach in this field, and embed, in a more systematic and comprehensive way, the IOC’s human rights approach across its operations.

The IOC’s work is informed by a series of recommendations from a recent IOC-commissioned report by two leading human rights experts, HRH Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Rachel Davis, Vice-President of Shift, a leading centre of expertise in business and human rights. 

Olympic Agenda 2020+5, the IOC’s roadmap, which builds on these recommendations and the work undertaken over the last few years in this field, includes a series of specific objectives to reinforce the promotion and respect of human rights. Engagement with affected stakeholder and broader human rights expert groups has increased over the past year and will continue to play a role in this work.

The IOC as the owner of the Olympic Games

The objective is to strengthen the human rights approach in the organisation and delivery of the Olympic Games, in close collaboration with Organising Committees for the Olympic Games (OCOGs) and Youth Olympic Games organisers, and support them further in developing and implementing their human rights approaches.

In 2017, as part of the implementation of Olympic Agenda 2020, the IOC adopted new procedures and made changes to the “Operational Requirements” of the Host City Contract for the Olympic Games 2024 and beyond, which now includes a dedicated section designed to strengthen provisions protecting human rights related to the organisation of the Olympic Games.

Human rights requirements have also been strengthened in the Future Host Questionnaire. Preferred Hosts are required to describe how they will seek to identify and address adverse human rights impacts, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, throughout the lifecycle of the Games. An independent human rights assessment of the Preferred Host is also part of the IOC procedure to help inform the Future Host Commission’s work.

The IOC as the leader of the Olympic Movement

The IOC works closely with the Olympic Movement, especially the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs) on human rights matters.

Through its work on “safe sport”, the IOC is actively taking steps to protect athletes from all forms of harassment and abuse in sport.

An ongoing and related project is the IOC’s work on athletes’ inclusion across the Olympic Movement. The IOC is currently working on a voluntary framework to help IFs ensure fairness, safety and non-discrimination of athletes on the basis of gender identity and sex characteristics.

Moreover, the IOC has started to cascade its work on procurement to NOCs and IFs. In this regard, the IOC published, as part of its Sustainability Essentials series, a guide on “Sustainable Sourcing in Sport”.

Latest news

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  • Executive Board IOC IOC News
    IOC continues working on human rights and takes first steps on a strategy
  • Olympic Flag IOC News
    IOC moves forward with its human rights approach
  • Olympic Flag IOC News
    IOC is committed to inclusion across the Olympic Movement

Reference documents

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