IOC hu­man rights ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee to start with 2024 Games

The News-Times (Sunday) - - Sports -

TOKYO — The IOC has set up an ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee on hu­man rights chaired by Zeid Ra’ad alHus­sein, the for­mer U.N. high com­mis­sioner for hu­man rights.

Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach said Satur­day at meet­ings in the Ja­panese cap­i­tal that “hu­man rights stan­dards” will be in­cluded in Olympic host-city con­tracts, be­gin­ning with the 2024 Games in Paris.

Bach was asked if the com­mit­tee would look at hu­man rights in China, where the rul­ing Com­mu­nist Party has been crit­i­cized for the in­tern­ment of hun­dreds of thou­sands of Mus­lims in western China.

Bei­jing is the host of the 2022 Win­ter Olympics, and spent $40 bil­lion to hold the 2008 Sum­mer Olympics.

Bach said the IOC would not ques­tion China be­cause it “has not the man­date nor the au­thor­ity to solve the hu­man rights prob­lems” that are clearly “po­lit­i­cal is­sues.”

A re­cent re­port by Hu­man Rights Watch said the in­tern­ment cen­ters in western China in­volved “ar­bi­trary de­ten­tion, tor­ture and mis­treat­ment.”

“Th­ese ram­pant abuses vi­o­late fun­da­men­tal rights of free­dom of ex­pres­sion, re­li­gion, and pri­vacy and pro­tec­tions from tor­ture,” Hu­man Rights Watch wrote.

China de­nies such in- tern­ment camps ex­ist but says crim­i­nals in­volved in mi­nor of­fenses are sent to “vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and em­ploy­ment train­ing cen­ters” to help with their re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and rein­te­gra­tion into so­ci­ety.

Bach sug­gested the com­mit­tee would fo­cus on is­sues like the rights of trans­gen­der ath­letes.

“We should con­cen­trate on what we can re­ally achieve and what we can re­ally do,” Bach said.

The IOC has been faulted for over­look­ing hu­man rights abuses in coun­tries that spend bil­lions to host the Olympics.

“Pro­mot­ing hu­man­is­tic val­ues in sport has been a core fea­ture of the IOC since its be­gin­ning,” Bach said in a pre­pared state- ment. “Our mis­sion, to put sport at the ser­vice of hu­man­ity, goes hand-in-hand with hu­man rights, which is part of our DNA.”

Eu­gene Hoshiko / As­so­ci­ated Press

IOC Pres­i­dent Thomas Bach de­liv­ers a speech at the open­ing of an ANOC gen­eral as­sem­bly in Tokyo on Wed­nes­day. Bach says “hu­man rights stan­dards” will be in­cluded in Olympic host-city con­tracts, be­gin­ning with the 2024 Games in Paris.

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