IOC President joins United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to celebrate anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights

25 Jun 2018
IOC News IOC President

UN High Commissioner says IOC and UN “strive together to improve the world”

IOC/Greg Martin

International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach celebrated the 70th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights at a special meeting at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, today.

To mark the historic milestone, the High Commissioner, Zeid Ra`ad Al Hussein, invited President Bach to the United Nations headquarters for a public debate. Together the two leaders spoke about how sport can build and defend human rights.  

President Bach said that sport was all about respect. “Respect for others, respect for rules, respect for yourself and respect for your colleagues.” 


IOC/Greg Martin

For the High Commissioner, sport was “one of the key pillars of education as you grow up. It is a central building block of one’s personality and character to operate in a system of rules.” 

The two leaders talked together for more than an hour in front of an invited audience, and later took questions from an audience of government, NGO and UN representatives. 

President Bach told the audience that ‘universality’ was fundamental to the Olympic Games. “In the Olympic Games you have the whole world together in one place, at one time.”  He continued: “our responsibility is very clearly to ensure that the Olympic Charter, which includes human rights, is respected during the Olympic Games and in all our actions. There, we have to create the right instruments to contribute to one of the basic human rights, to peace.”  But, he added: “the world of politics cannot expect us to change or to resolve issues that politics have not been able to resolve for centuries.”

Concluding the meeting, the High Commissioner said that: “both organisations, the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations, strive for the same idea, to improve the relations between countries and human beings. To improve the state of the world.”
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