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Introductory Remarks of the Human Rights Council President H.E. Baudelaire Ndong Ella Side Event on Equality in Sports

16 June 2014

Excellencies,
Madam High Commissioner,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to particularly thank you all for your participation to this Side-Event on equality in sports organized by my colleagues from Greece, the Republic of Korea, Brazil, New Zealand, The US and myself.

This is an important theme, especially in times of major scandals in some of the most watched and appreciated sports. The principle of equality is a simple one to understand as it is clearly stipulated in the 1st article of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights « all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights ».

The Olympic Charter not only encompasses the fight against all forms of discrimination but also other values in connection with human rights and essential to our societies. Sport has countless advantages, besides its impact on our physical fitness and mental well-being, it has an enormous potential to promote awareness and understanding of human rights. It indeed conveys also values such as respect for opponents and equality among others. In addition, it can significantly contribute to the development and empowerment of all human beings, in particular marginalized groups.

Excellencies,
[Madam High Commissioner],
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Sport played an important role for the harmonious development of men, and for the promotion of peaceful societies concerned with the preservation of human dignity.

Since 2010, numerous initiatives related to sports and human rights, aimed at recognizing the importance of sport as a universal tool for the inculcation of the values of diversity, perseverance and fairness among others, have been undertaken by the Council.

Thus, the Council has also adopted Resolution 13/27 on a world of sports free from racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance in the context of the 2010 FIFA World Cup to underline the importance of fighting impunity for racially motivated crimes in sport, in accordance with the paragraph 218 of the Durban Declaration and Program of Action.

The Council has also adopted Resolution 18/23 in 2011 entitled “Promoting awareness, understanding and the application of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights through sport and the Olympic ideal” to examine ways and means in which sport and major sporting events, can be used to promote awareness and understanding of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the principles enshrined therein.

Excellencies,
[Madam High Commissioner],
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Sport has great potential to promote peace, development and prosperity. In this regard, I welcome the General Assembly resolution 63/135 of December 2008, which outlines the values of sport as a means to promote education, development, peace as well as the General Assembly resolution 67/296, institutionalizing the international day of sport.

I also welcome the work of sports governing bodies to fight against all forms of discrimination by applying disciplinary codes that impose sanctions for all acts of discrimination.

I would like to commend Brazil for organizing the 2014 FIFA World Cup and emphasizing the importance of making use of this event to promote understanding, tolerance and peace as well as to promote and strengthen efforts in fighting against all forms of discriminations.

In conclusion, I encourage States to take the occasion offered by major sports events to develop campaigns aimed at raising awareness on the Olympic ideals and values of equality in sports as well as on the importance of fighting against all forms of discrimination. And I wish good luck to all the teams participating to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

I thank you very much.