World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Sochi Olympic Games: Power of Sport to Unite All People

On Eve of Sochi Olympic Games, Ban Praises Power of Sport to Unite All People

New York, Feb 6 2014 - In Sochi, Russia, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today praised the power of sport to promote human rights and unite people regardless of their age, race, class, religious, ability, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity in a first of its kind address to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“We must all raise our voices against attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people,” Mr. Ban said as the first UN chief to address an IOC session. “We must oppose the arrests, imprisonments and discriminatory restrictions they face.”

Mr. Ban cited Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter which enshrines the IOC’s opposition to any form of discrimination. He added that the UN stands “strongly” behind its own ‘Free & Equal’ campaign and looks forward “to working with the IOC, Governments and other partners around the world to build societies of equality and tolerance.”

“Hatred of any kind must have no place in the 21st century,” the top UN official stressed, noting also the need to combat “ugly and hurtful racist displays at sporting matches.”

Speaking later to the press in Sochi alongside Thomas Bach, President of the IOC, Mr. Ban said that “the Olympics give us an opportunity to celebrate everyone’s right to compete on equal terms – no matter what they look like, where they come from or whom they love.”

The two men had taken part in the Olympic torch relay that day, with Mr. Ban receiving the flame from Mr. Bach on a bridge over the Sochi River. The flame will be nested tomorrow after its 65,000-kilometer (39,000-mile) route at the opening ceremony, attended by Mr. Ban.

In his remarks, the Secretary-General praised the increasingly strong and productive partnership between the UN and the IOC, with shared values of universality, solidarity and non-discrimination that make a “dynamic global duo.”

He noted the many UN agencies – including the office of his special advisor on sport and development, Wilfred Lemke – working directly with the IOC to advance the eight anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ahead of the 2015 deadline, including efforts to combat AIDS and drug abuse, protect the environment and promote education.

In a speech to the IOC a day before the opening of the Games, Mr. Ban reiterated the UN’s call for the observance of the Olympic Truce, especially in Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

“Athletes send a unified message that people and nations can put aside their differences,” he said. “If they can do that in Sochi’s sporting arenas, leaders of fighters should do the same in the world’s combat areas.”

The symbolic Truce, which started one week before the XXII Olympic Winter Games, will run until a week after the closing of the XI Paralympic Winter Games, to be held 7 to 16 March.

Mr. Ban stressed the essential nature of the Paralympic Games to the Sochi Winter Games and highlighted how the Olympic Movement promotes human rights which include the rights of people with disabilities.

“I am one of millions of people inspired by those athletes,” he said.

“The Olympics have served to break down negative stereotypes and build positive attitudes,” he added. “I am pleased that the United Nations counts many Olympic athletes as champions of our causes – peace, development and human rights.”

In his remarks today, Mr. Ban said he appreciated President Vladimir Putin’s assurances that “there will be no discrimination whatsoever,” and that people with different sexual orientation are welcome to compete and enjoy the Olympic Games.

For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

UN Health Agency Responds To Ebola Spike

UN health agency responds to Ebola spike by deploying team on border of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau More>>

UN Casts Israel As World's Worst Violator Of Health Rights

Israel's army team of medics recently treated 1,600 victims of the Nepal earthquake. More>>

W Thousands Flee Syria’s Besieged Historic City Of Palmyra

As thousands flee Syria’s besieged historic city of Palmyra, UN refugee agency readies response plan More>>

UN Agency To Halt Housing Allowance For Palestine Refugees

Lack of funds forces UNRWA to suspend cash assistance for housing for Palestinian refugees from Syria in Lebanon. Photo: UNRWA/Shafiq Fahed More>>


Bangkok: International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, Biphophia

BMA, UN, embassy representatives, civil society and artists stand united with LGBTI Thais on International Day against Transphobia, Homophobia, and Biphobia (IDAHOT) at Bangkok Art and Culture Centre More>>

Displaced Iraqis Face Difficulties As Fighting Continues

UNHCR is concerned about the processing arrangements in place at the Bzabz bridge – a series of pontoons across the Euphrates River which marks the boundary between Anbar province and the capital, Baghdad. Photo: UNHCR/G. Ohara More>>

UNESCO Chief Condemns Killing Of Bangladeshi Blogger

Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz The head of the United Nations agency with a mandate to defend freedom of expression and press freedom worldwide today voiced ... More>>

Philadelphia: Train Crash

Five people have been confirmed dead and more than 136 people injured after an Amtrak train crashed in Philadelphia today at 9.20pm local time.More>>

UN News: Alarming Surge In Bay Of Bengal Crossings

The number of irregular migrants crossing the Bay of Bengal has almost doubled over the past year amid a dangerous uptick in human smuggling and trafficking across the region, according to a new report from the United Nations refugee agency. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news