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

 

Cyclone Pam Drives Up Contraceptive Demand In Vanuatu

UNFPA Pacific, Port Vila, Vanuatu (March 31, 2015) - Katherine Silas grimaces but one is not entirely sure if it is in response to pain or merely the sight of the needle being used to implant the long-term contraceptive, jadelle, a week after Cyclone ... More>>

Palestine: Border Police Extremely Close When They Shot The US Activist

New testimony at final hearing in Tristan Anderson's trial indicates Border Police were extremely close when they shot the US activist in the head More>>

Palestine: Ni’lin Demonstrators Met With Violence

International Solidarity Movement On the 20th of March, during Ni’lin’s weekly Friday demonstration, Israeli occupation forces attacked protestors with about 20 rounds of tear gas canisters shot with the ‘venom’ tear gas launcher mounted on a military jeep ... More>>

ALSO:

UN Envoy Says Yemen On 'Rapid Downward Spiral'

Yemen stands on the brink of civil war amid deepening political tensions and an uptick in sectarian violence, United Nations Special Adviser Jamal Benomar warned today as he explained that only through dialogue could the country achieve a peaceful political transition. More>>


Continued International Support As Vanuatu Recovers

Damage seen on Saturday 14 March 2015 in Port Vila, capital of Vanuatu, after Cyclone Pam moved through the Archipelago. Photo: UNICEF Pacific More>>

UNICEF Rushes Emergency Supplies For Cyclone-Affected Tuvalu

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is dispatching emergency life-saving supplies to communities in Tuvalu as part of its efforts to assist communities in the Pacific region that were affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam, with nutrition and hygiene kits arriving today. More>>

Guinea Reports Highest Weekly Ebola Case Total This Year

Guinea reports highest weekly Ebola case total so far this year, new UN data shows More>>


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news