(ATR) The two 2024 Olympic bid cities are ready to start a trend of explicitly protecting human rights in Olympic host cities.
Earlier this week the human rights groups spoke out in favor of new language in the 2024 Host City contract explicitly protecting human rights. A statement from watchdog-group Human Rights Watch (HRW) says the move "could help prevent major abuses by future Olympic hosts".
The Beijing, Sochi and Rio Games were cited by HRW for specific abuses that took place during Games’ preparations, with little action from the IOC. The group believes that the new wording in the contract will help give the IOC more teeth in dealing with future violations.
There are early indications that the next Summer Olympic bid race could include bids from Qatar and Russia. Qatar has drawn fire ahead of hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup for its restrictive visa system that traps migrant workers in the country at their employer’s will. Russia saw abuses ahead of the 2014 Games including a restrictive anti-LGBT law condemned by human rights groups.
"Time after time, Olympic hosts have gotten away with abusing workers building stadiums, and with crushing critics and media who try to report about abuses," said Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch. "The right to host the Olympics needs to come with the responsibility not to abuse basic human rights."
The two host cities for the 2024 Olympics, Los Angeles and Paris, are not known for potential human rights abuses, but both organizing committees tell Around the Rings the language is welcomed.
Los Angeles 2024, in a statement, said that a "progressive culture" that focuses on human rights is "deeply ingrained in our community."
"LA 2024 commends the IOC for its leadership in implementing meaningful reform that will positively impact the Olympic Movement not only in 2024 but for all future Games," a bid spokesperson said. "For example [LA 2024 is committed] to implementing a Sustainable Sourcing Code that will define minimum criteria for ethical business, environmental, social and human rights requirements for LA 2024 vendors."
A Paris 2024 spokesperson said that the bid "fully supports the new procedures" aiming to protect human rights, reducing corruption, and promoting sustainability. The spokesperson said in a statement that many of the values in the contract were already "aligned to our ambition" for the bid.
"We are committed to ensure all sport is organized with integrity and will continue to help place Olympic values in the heart of society – highlighting that we can celebrate openness and tolerance, promote sustainability and ethical practices and create positive change for local communities through sport," the spokesperson added.
Written by Aaron Bauer
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