02 Dec 2020
Building on the work undertaken over the last few years to address human rights issues within the scope of its responsibility across its three spheres of influence, as well as recent recommendations made by experts, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has made further progress on the development and implementation of its human rights approach. In its recent consultative meeting, the IOC Executive Board (EB) received an update on the ongoing work in this field.
The IOC’s work has been informed by a series of “Recommendations for an IOC Human Rights Strategy”, produced by the independent experts HRH Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and Rachel Davis, Vice President of Shift – a non-profit centre of expertise on business and human rights – commissioned by the IOC in 2019. They were developed following a consultative process with key internal staff and expert civil society stakeholders. Shift has been supporting the IOC since 2018 to develop the organisation’s existing human rights due diligence measures.
“We would like to thank Prince Zeid and Rachel Davis for their work and the report. The IOC remains committed not only to continuing, but also to strengthening its work concerning human rights within the scope of our responsibility,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.
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 and the creation of a human rights unit in the organisation. Engagement with human rights expert groups has also increased.
Work has further progressed in relation to the Olympic and Youth Olympic Games, supporting organising committees in developing and implementing their human rights approaches. As part of the Olympic Agenda 2020 reforms, human rights standards had already been reinforced in the “Operational Requirements” of the Host City Contract for the Olympic Games 2024 and beyond.
Setting out its role to advance respect for human rights as the leader of the Olympic Movement, the IOC is also aiming to work closely with the National Olympic Committees (NOCs) and International Federations (IFs). In its commitment to inclusion across the Olympic Movement, the IOC is working on a framework to ensure fairness, safety and non-discrimination of athletes on the basis of gender identity and sex characteristics; and it is planning to further advance its work around safe sport and implement the “Athletes’ Rights and Responsibilities Declaration”.
The IOC will continue the work already under way.
Additional action will be taken in the short term to complete the development of an IOC human rights strategy and policy commitment, and an amendment to the Olympic Charter will be considered.
Further work will look, among other things, at further embedding human rights in the good governance principles, and the establishment of the previously announced Human Rights Advisory Committee.