Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Countries Opposing Russias Participation In Olympics Disregard Human Rights Issue - IOC

2024 Olympic Games in Paris

National Olympic Committees of countries that oppose the participation of Russian and Belarus athletes in the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris fail to address human rights concerns in their statements, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on Wednesday.

On January 25, the IOC's executive committee said it might allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in the 2024 Paris Olympics under a neutral flag, which caused outrage and protest from a group of 35 countries. IOC President Thomas Bach said on Sunday that individual governments have no right to decide who should take part in sports tournaments and who should be barred from them.

"There have been some statements showing concern, in particular from the Baltic countries and some others. Unfortunately, what they have not addressed are the human rights concerns," the IOC said in a statement, noting "it is not up to governments to decide who can take part in sporting competitions because that would be the end of international sports competitions, World Championships and the Olympic Games as we know them."

The committee is looking into a solution that would contribute to the sport's mission of unification, instead of provoking confrontation of more escalation, according to the statement.

"History will show who is doing more for peace: those who try to keep communication lines open, or those who want to isolate or divide," the statement read.

On February 1, the United Nations welcomed the IOC's decision to allow athletes from Russia and Belarus to participate in international sports tournaments, and at the same time, urged the committee to ensure the non-discrimination of any athlete on the basis of their nationality. Meanwhile, Ukraine condemned the IOC's position and threatened to boycott the games.

Many international sports organizations have banned Russian and Belarusian athletes from participating in their competitions in response to Moscow's ongoing military operation in Ukraine and Minsk's support for it.

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