Addressing the audience gathered at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, President Bach said: “This resolution was adopted by consensus by all UN Members States. It calls for a cessation of hostilities and urges the UN Member States to ensure the peaceful organisation of the Olympic Games. This call for an Olympic Truce is in fact a 3,000-year old tradition, already put in place for the ancient Olympic Games, thereby highlighting their contribution to peace.”
He went on: “Peace was also central to the thinking of the founder of the International Olympic Committee, Pierre de Coubertin. When he revived the Olympic Games over 125 years ago, he saw them as a way to promote peace among nations and people. This peace mission continues to be at the heart of the Olympic Games.
“Today, I am here to remember all the people who are commemorated at this very place. Today I am here to pay respect to Hiroshima, as a city of peace and to all the people of Hiroshima. Today I am here to reaffirm to all of them our peace mission in the Olympic Movement. In seven days from now, the Olympic athletes from 205 National Olympic Committees and the IOC Refugee Olympic Team will send a resounding message from Tokyo and Japan to the world: we need more solidarity. More solidarity within societies and more solidarity among societies. Without solidarity, there is no peace. In this way, the Olympic and Paralympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be a beacon of hope for a better and more peaceful future.
“Every human being – this is a dream, I know, but sometimes you have to dream – should come here one day to Hiroshima because everybody who has been here and who made this experience and got this inspiration, will leave Hiroshima as an ambassador for peace. I am very humbled by this visit and very touched by this visit. I commit myself and the entire Olympic Movement to be such an ambassador for peace.”
Before delivering his speech at the Hiroshima Peace Memorial, the IOC President laid a wreath.
After visiting the museum and touring the permanent exhibition, President Bach met a survivor, KAJIYA Fumiaki. The IOC President was very moved by a private conversation with the 82-year-old about his experiences. President Bach was inspired by his testimony and by his commitment to peace and his great support for the Olympic Games and their peace mission. In fact, the former teacher had expressed his support as a torch bearer for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Thomas Bach was accompanied by IOC Member in Japan WATANABE Morinari, and by HASHIMOTO Seiko, the President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee.
At the same time, John Coates, Chair of the IOC Coordination Commission for the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, visited Nagasaki. He was joined by IOC Member in Japan YAMASHITA Yasuhiro, and by ENDO Toshiaki, the Vice-President of the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee.
UN Secretary-General António Guterres sent a message today to “call on all parties to conflict to observe the Olympic Truce during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. People and nations can build on this temporary respite to establish lasting ceasefires and find paths towards sustainable peace. Seeking peace and uniting around common goals is even more important this year, as we strive to end the pandemic and build a strong sustainable and inclusive global recovery.”
This builds on the UN resolution entitled “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic Ideal”, which was passed unanimously at the 74th Session of the UN General Assembly in 2019 and was co-sponsored by 186 out of 193 UN Member States, demonstrating the recognition by the UN’s international community of the power of sport and the relevance of the Olympic Games to bring the world together in peaceful competition, providing hope for a better future. The resolution calls for the Olympic Truce to be respected from today to 12 September 2021 - seven days before the start of the Olympic Games until seven days after the Paralympic Games.
The Olympic Truce – a tradition for more than 3,000 years
The tradition of the Olympic Truce – “Ekecheira” – has been to ensure a halt of all hostilities, allowing the safe passage and participation of athletes and spectators taking part in the Olympic Games. The resolution reaffirms that the Olympic values of peace, solidarity and respect are as important across the world today as they were over 3,000 years ago, when the ancient Olympic Games first took place in Greece.
The main objectives pursued by the IOC through the Olympic Truce are to mobilise young people for the promotion of the Olympic ideal; to use sport to help build bridges between communities in conflict; and, more generally, to create a window of opportunity for dialogue and reconciliation.
The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 are due to start on 23 July 2021.
The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit, civil, non-governmental, international organisation made up of volunteers which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of USD 3.4 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.
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