Categories
Human Rights in sports

SPORT AND RIGHTS ALLIANCE

Fans watch as Dirk Kuyt of the Netherlands (L) fights for the ball with Brazil's Oscar during their 2014 World Cup third-place playoff at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia July 12, 2014. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino (BRAZIL  - Tags: SOCCER SPORT WORLD CUP TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY)        TOPCUP - RTR3YBND
Fans watch as Dirk Kuyt of the Netherlands (L) fights for the ball with Brazil’s Oscar during their 2014 World Cup third-place playoff at the Brasilia national stadium in Brasilia July 12, 2014. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino (BRAZIL – Tags: SOCCER SPORT WORLD CUP TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY) TOPCUP – RTR3YBND

The Sport and Rights Alliance (SRA) is a coalition of leading NGOs, sports organizations and trade unions. It was founded in early 2015 to address the decision-makers of international sports mega-events to introduce measures to ensure these events are always organized in a way that respects human rights (including labour rights), the environment and anti-corruption requirements at all stages of the process – from bidding, through to the development and delivery phase to final reporting.  The SRA includes Amnesty International, Football Supporters Europe, Human Rights Watch, the International Trade Union Confederation, and Transparency International Germany.

Categories
Olympic Games

BRAZIL: 2016 Summer Olympics

In June 2013 huge demonstrations that took place in dozens of cities in Brazil through which people expressed their discontent with increased public transportation costs, high World Cup spending and insufficient investment in public services. The police response to the wave of protests in 2013 was, in many instances, violent and abusive. Military police units used tear gas indiscriminately against protesters, fired rubber bullets at people who posed no threat and beat people with hand-held batons. Hundreds were injured and hundreds more were indiscriminately rounded up and detained, some under laws targeting organized crime, without any indication that they were involved in criminal activity. In May 2014, Amnesty International launched the campaign “No foul play, Brazil” warning about restrictions to freedom of expression and police abuses during protests and urging the authorities to ensure security forces “play by the rules” during demonstrations expected to take place ahead and during the World Cup 2014.
Military police arrest a demonstrator during a protest against the 2014 World Cup Football in Sao Paulo, June 2013. © Mídia Ninja

In 2016, the Summer Olympics are held in Brazil. This requires a great effort: building sports facilities, hotels and infrastructure. A lot needs to be done, also in the field of human rights. For example to prevent excessive police force against peaceful demonstrators. In Brazil, demonstrators are arbitrarily detained and labelled as criminals by charging them with ‘criminal offences’. Prison conditions are extremely harsh due to overcrowding, violence and torture. The rights of indigenous peoples are frequently violated. And even though gay marriage is legalized in Brazil, lesbians, gays and transgenders widely suffer from discrimination and violence.

Read about the right to protest in Brazil: Brazil: “They use a strategy of fear”- Protecting the rights to protest in Brazil

Excessive police violence

Extrajudicial executions at the hands of police officials are frequent in Brazil. In the context of the so-called “war on drugs”, military police forces have unnecessarily and excessively used lethal force, resulting in the deaths of thousands of people over the past decade. The authorities often use the legal term of “resistance followed by death” as a smokescreen to cover up killings committed by the police officers.
Nearly 16 percent of the total homicides registered in Rio de Janeiro in the last five years took place at the hands of on-duty police officers – 1,519 in total. Only in the favela of Acari, in the north of the city, Amnesty International found evidence that strongly suggests the occurrence of extrajudicial executions in at least 9 out of 10 killings committed by the military police in 2014. The majority of victims of police killings registered from 2010 to 2013 are young black men of between 15 and 29 years of age.

Read more about police violence in: Brazil: You killed my son: Homicides by military police in the city of Rio de Janeiro

 

Categories
Football

RUSSIA: 2018 World Cup Football

St. petersburg, Russia. 29th June 2013 -- Riot police officers arrest LGBT activists and opposing russian nationalists during a gay pride rally in St. Petersburg, Russia. The rally is considered illegal under the law against 'gay propaganda' which prohibits public displays of homosexuality. -- Demonstrating LGBT activists and the Russian nationalists that confronted them were arrested by riot police officers in St. Petersburg, Russia. The rally was considered illegal under the law against 'gay propaganda'.
Riot police officers arrest an LGBT activist during an “illegal” gay pride rally in Saint Petersburg, Russia in 2013. © Corbis

The human rights situation in Russia is abysmal. Since 2012, numerous new laws further suppress the rights to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

Journalists, human rights activists, lawyers, gays and artists are thwarted in many ways to prevent them from voicing any criticism. The ‘law on foreign agents’ paralyzes civil society. Ahead of the World Cup, there is a risk of increased repression of the right to freedom of expression.

In the run-up to the Winter Olympics in Sochi in 2014, the repression was steadily intensified. Yevgeny Vitishko, for example, was arrested in Sochi on 3 Februari 2014. This environmental activist was trying to prove that rare trees were chopped to make way for sporting facilities. He supposedly used swear words while standing at a bus stop, which resulted in a three year prison sentence. He is still in jail.

Read more about human rights in Russia >

Categories
Olympic Games

SOUTH KOREA: 2018 Winter Olympics

Participants attend an event marking the three-year countdown to the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics at Alpensia Ski Jumping Center in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. The organizing committee celebrated Monday's milestone with an event at Pyeongchang's ski jumping center and Olympic stadium site. Kim Jong, an official with South Korea's sports ministry, said officials are "at a critical point" in preparations for the games, which will run from Feb. 9-25, 2018. (AP Photo/Yonhap, Han Jong-chan)  KOREA OUT
Participants attend an event marking the three-year countdown to the start of the 2018 Winter Olympics at Alpensia Ski Jumping Center in Pyeongchang, South Korea, Monday, Feb. 9, 2015. © AP Photo/Yonhap, Han Jong-chan

In 2018, the Winter Olympics are being held in South Korea. Some victories are desired for human rights in that country. The rights of migrant workers are severely violated in South Korea. They have very long working hours and are underpaid. They don’t get any days off or holidays and they live in bad housing conditions. Trade unions are obstructed in their work. The freedom of expression is repressed as well. The National Security Law is used to intimidate and arrest critical activists and politicians.

Read more about human rights in South Korea >

Categories
Olympic Games

JAPAN: 2020 Summer Olympics

Bildnummer: 15024492  Datum: 14.11.2013  Copyright: imago/AFLOSPORT Naoki Inose, Tsunekazu Takeda, NOVEMBER 14, 2013 : Japanese Olympic Committee (JOC) President Tsunekazu Takeda and Naoki Inose Governor of Tokyo attend the IOC/Tokyo 2020 Orientation Seminar for Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 at Ajinomoto National traning center, Tokyo, Japan. Noxthirdxpartyxsales PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxHUNxPOLxRUSxSWExFRAxNEDxESPxONLY (qdwa028606); OS Sommer Spiele Sommerspiele premiumd x0x xsk 2013 quer Japan Tokyo IOC/Tokyo 2020 Orientation Seminar Olympics Olympic Games  Image number 15024492 date 14 11 2013 Copyright imago AFLOSPORT Naoki  Tsunekazu Takeda November 14 2013 Japanese Olympic Committee Joc President Tsunekazu Takeda and Naoki  Governor of Tokyo attend The IOC Tokyo 2020 orientation Seminar for Tokyo Olympic Games 2020 AT Ajinomoto National traning Center Tokyo Japan  PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxHUNxPOLxRUSxSWExFRAxNEDxESPxONLY  OS Summer Games Summer Games premiumd x0x xsk 2013 horizontal Japan Tokyo IOC Tokyo 2020 orientation Seminar Olympics Olympic Games
Japanese Olympic Committee Joc President Tsunekazu Takeda and Naoki Governor of Tokyo attend the IOC Tokyo 2020 Orientation Seminar © Imago/AFLOSPORT

The human rights situation in the host country of the 2020 Summer Olympics seems to be deteriorating. The government fails to effectively address discrimination against foreigners. The asylum procedure is too strict; in 2013 only six out of 3.700 applicants were granted asylum. The Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets, which came into force in December 2014, could be used to limit access to information that citizens need to hold their government accountable for their acts. And Japan still upholds the death penalty.

For now, Amnesty is not concerned that human rights violations will take place in association with the sporting event.

Read more about human rights in Japan >

Categories
Football

QATAR: 2022 Word Cup Football

November 16, 2013 - Doha, Qatar: The capital of the Emirate state of Qatar. Sketch of the new Al Wakrah stadium designed by archistar Zaha Hadid, Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first Arab country to host the event. (Piero Oliosi/Polaris)
Sketch of the new Al Wakrah stadium in the Qatari capital Doha, designed by archistar Zaha Hadid for the 2022 World Cup. (Piero Oliosi/Polaris)

In 2022, Qatar is host country of the World Cup. Scores of football stadiums and other facilities are being built for this event, often by foreign workers. The working conditions in the construction business, and for people doing domestic work, are extremely bad and amount to exploitation. Additionally, women are discriminated against, the freedom of expression is restricted and the judicial system is not up to international standards.

Read more about human rights in Qatar >

Categories
Football Olympic Games

CHINA: 2022 Winter Olympics and candidate 2026 World Cup Football

Chinese paramilitary policemen patrol near the National Stadium or Bird's Nest at the Olympic Green in Beijing July 26, 2008, just 13 days to go before the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged China on Saturday not to use security concerns over next month's Olympics as a cover to crush political dissent. There has been a security clampdown in China ahead of the Aug. 8-24 Olympics. Some human rights groups, however, say the Chinese authorities have overreacted to security threats and used it as a way to crack down on political dissidents.  REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV    (CHINA)  (BEIJING OLYMPICS 2008 PREVIEW) - RTX8502
Chinese paramilitary policemen patrol near the National Stadium or Bird’s Nest at the Olympic Green in Beijing two weeks before the start of the Olympic Games in 2008. © REUTERS/Claro Cortes

China has a strong influence in the world. This is one of the reasons why it is so alarming that the country, candidate for organizing the 2022 Winter Olympics and 2026 World Cup, barely complies with human rights. The freedoms of expression, religion and assembly are highly curtailed. China’s system of internet censorship is believed to be the most advanced in the world. Everyone who fights for human rights risks intimidation, detention and torture. The death penalty is handed down more often in China than in all other countries of the world combined. The Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics brought increased repression to the entire country.

In 2022 the Winter Olympics are being held in China; when the host for the World Cup will be chosen is yet unknown.

Read more about human rights in China >

Read our reaction to the selection of China for the Winter Olympics >

Categories
Football Olympic Games

KAZACHSTAN: candidate 2026 World Cup Football

Andrey Kryukov, Vice Chairman of the Almaty 2022 bid committee, speaks to journalists after the presentation of the Kazakhstan Almaty 2022 Winter Olympics bid for IOC members at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, Tuesday, June 9, 2015. With the vote less than two months away on who hosts the 2022 Winter Olympics, Kazakh and Chinese leaders are presenting their bids directly to the IOC members who will decide between two starkly different choices. (Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP)
Andrey Kryukov, Vice Chairman of the Almaty 2022 bid committee, speaks to journalists after the presentation of the Kazakhstan Almaty 2022 Winter Olympics bid for IOC members, June 9, 2015.  On 31 July 2015 it was announced that China will host the Winter Olympics. © Jean-Christophe Bott/Keystone via AP

Kazachstan is candidate for hosting the World Cup Football in 2026. The human rights record of the country is poor. Beautiful words cover up bad practices: Kazachstan “will not rest until torture is completely eliminated”, the government announced. But torture is still taking place. The freedom of expression, association and assembly are restricted. Peaceful protesters are arrested, independent organizations are obstructed in their work, newspapers are forbidden, and social media are blocked. A law that bans propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations – read: homosexuality – is ready to be signed by the President.

When the host for the World Cup will be chosen is yet unknown.

Read more about human rights in Kazachstan >

Categories
Human Rights in sports

HUMAN RIGHTS AND SPORTS : Amnesty’s recommendations

Accommodatie voor arbeidsmigranten die in Qatar werken aan stadions en andere faciliteiten voor het Wereldkampioenschap Voetbal in 2022 © AI
Accommodation of migrant workers working on stadiums and other facilities of the 2022 World Cup Football in Qatar. © AI

Amnesty International has the following recommendations in order to stop or prevent human rights violations related to major sporting events:

• States hosting a major sporting event should ensure rights are not violated in the context of this event.
• The organizing bodies, like IOC and FIFA, should have in place robust due diligence procedures to ensure that the sporting event does not cause or contribute to human rights violations. This means, that they should have a human rights policy, and processes to act on such a policy.

a. Organizing bodies should make clear in the bidding and selection processes that they expect the host states to commit to upholding human rights in the hosting and staging of the sporting event. They should also investigate the human rights risks and the possibilities to minimize these.
b. When considering awarding a major sporting event to a country, they could first look at the risk of human rights violations in the context of hosting and staging the event. If a country has a history of abuses linked to major building projects – for example forced evictions or labour exploitation – there is a risk of repetition. The organizing body should ask the candidate country to provide assurances as part of its bid.
c. Once a country has been awarded a major sporting event, the organizing body should work with the country to develop a risks and mitigation plan.
d. The organizing body should make clear the steps it will take if the host state violates rights in the context of the sporting event.
e. The organizing body should ensure it has independent human rights monitors who can report to it regularly.
f. In all contracts between the event organizers and companies, there should be clear stipulation that the company must respect human rights and operate in a manner consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. In the documentation underpinning the awarding of the major sporting event to the host state, there should be specific provisions on the commitment of the host state to ensure human rights are respected and protected in the context of the event. If the host state breaches these provisions, similar sanctions should apply as to breaches of other legal commitments made by the host state to the organizing body.
g. The whole sub-contracting chain involved in the major sporting event should respect human rights. All contracts must therefore carry a human rights clause.
• All companies involved in the hosting or staging of a major sporting event should respect human rights and ensure they are respected throughout their sub-contracting and supply chains as well.

Categories
Human Rights in sports

VIOLATIONS OF HUMAN RIGHTS AT SPORTING EVENTS: who is responsible

Voormalig FIFA-president Sepp Blatter maakt bekend aan welk land het Wereldkampioenschap Voetbal in 2022 is toegewezen © Reuters/Hartmann
Former FIFA President Sepp Blatter announces which country gets to organize the 2022 World Cup © Reuters/Hartmann

In relation to major sporting events, like the World Cup or the Olympic Games, Amnesty International distinguishes two forms of human rights violations.

Violations directly related to the staging or hosting of the event. Examples are forced evictions carried out to construct sports stadiums or other infrastructure, or labour exploitation in the construction sector involving people working on sporting event infrastructure.

• Human rights violations that are not directly related to the event, but where there is a risk of increased violations during or in connection with the event. For example, if the host state represses the freedom of expression because the authorities don’t want insurgents to attract attention once the eyes of the world are on the country.

Four parties can be held responsible for these violations.

1. The host state
Naturally, the national government has the ultimate responsibility for human rights violations in its country. It makes no difference whether these violations are committed by the state itself or by “non-state actors” like companies. But the authorities are not the only ones responsible.

2. Organizing bodies
International organizations like FIFA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) have a “responsibility to respect” human rights. This means they have to conduct adequate due diligence in order to prevent that organizing the World Cup or Olympics causes human rights violations or contributes to them.

It is legitimate to hold organizing bodies to account on human rights violations related to organizing or hosting a sports event. When the violation is committed by the government or an enterprise that is involved with the event, Amnesty will point out the relationship of the event to FIFA or IOC. In that case, FIFA or IOC should act to end the violation.

Naturally, the influence of organizing bodies is limited when the state violates human rights. Therefore, Amnesty asks the organizers to lay down in advance in binding documents that host countries respect and protect human rights in the context of the sporting event.

Amnesty International will not address FIFA and IOC on the general human rights situation in a country. But we will seize the opportunity of a sporting event to urge the government to take measures against violations.

3. Sponsoring companies
All companies have a responsibility to respect human rights. They have to prevent infringements on these rights and act with utmost care to ensure that their business relations do not have a damaging effect. This is part of the United Nation’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. These principles are not legally binding, but they form a widely accepted standard which was endorsed by the UN Commission of Human Rights.

A company is also responsible for not sponsoring an organization or event that causes human rights violations or contributes to them. We ask sponsors to express their concerns towards the organizer about violations in the context of the sporting event. If the organizer itself commits the violations or is an accessory to them, sponsoring the event is inappropriate and in violation of the responsibility of companies.

4. Companies involved in a sporting event
Companies can be involved in a sporting event in many different ways – from building a stadium to selling merchandise. The same goes for these companies: they have a responsibility to respect human rights.