The Olympic Games

Due to delays from the covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 Summer Olympics & Paralympics and the 2022 Winter Olympics & Paralympics were held within just six months of each other. Top of mind at Tokyo 2020 were LGBTI rights and the physical and sexual abuse of child athletes in Japan, as well as health and wellbeing given the threat of coronavirus and strict testing and isolation measures. At Beijing 2022, all eyes turned toward freedom of expression, privacy, media rights, labor standards, and crimes against humanity, given China’s disastrous human rights record. Now, we continue pressing the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to develop a human rights strategic framework in close consultation with affected stakeholders’ representatives and look toward further advocacy and engagement around Paris 2024.

Learn more about our campaigns and advocacy below.

Olympics: IOC Heeds Calls to Embed Rights

Now Must Engage Stakeholders and Add Human Rights to Olympic Charter (Nyon, Switzerland, June 7, 2022) — The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) progress update released on May 20, 2022 is an important step towards adopting a desperately needed human rights strategic framework, the Sport & Rights Alliance said today. The move follows decades of calls […]

Beijing turned female Olympians into objects of nationalism, while Chinese women suffer

There was something deeply discomfiting about the 2022 Beijing Olympics – and it wasn’t just that the festivities covered up severe human rights abuses, including crimes against humanity targeting Uyghurs in Xinjiang and the erasure of fundamental freedoms in Hong Kong. As I watched how female athletes have been perceived and how their narratives have […]

China: Olympian’s Gold Medal Gesture Sets Example to Governments Everywhere

Olympic champion Nils van der Poel has set an example to world leaders by giving away his Beijing 2022 gold medal in protest at human rights violations in China. The Swedish athlete handed the men’s 10,000m speed skating medal he won at this month’s Games to Angela Gui, whose father Gui Minhai is a bookseller […]

China: Censorship Mars Beijing Olympics

IOC, Sponsors’ Inaction Enables Restrictions on Athletes, Journalists (New York) – Chinese government censorship seriously marred the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics, which close on February 20, 2022, Human Rights Watch said today. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and corporate sponsors have not spoken out about the government’s human rights record or used their leverage to press for rights […]

Beijing: Letter to IOC President Requests Urgent Human Rights Reform

(Nyon, Switzerland, February 18, 2022) — The International Olympic Committee (IOC) must act now to ensure the human rights catastrophe of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics never happens again, the Sport & Rights Alliance (SRA) said today. In a letter to IOC President Thomas Bach, the SRA stated that “the IOC cannot simply return to […]

China: IOC Can’t Ensure Olympic Apparel Is Abuse-Free

Supplier Audits Lacked Transparency, Don’t Answer Key Questions (New York) – The International Olympic Committee (IOC) did not conduct adequate human rights due diligence to address the risk that Olympic uniforms and other products for the Beijing Winter Games aren’t linked to grave rights violations in China’s Uyghur region, the Coalition to End Forced Labour in […]