IOC receives rights assurances for 2022 Winter Games bids
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has received non-discrimination assurances from Beijing and Almaty`s bids to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, an official said on Saturday after Beijing police raided an anti-discrimination group this week.
Beijing: The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has received non-discrimination assurances from Beijing and Almaty`s bids to host the 2022 Winter Olympics, an official said on Saturday after Beijing police raided an anti-discrimination group this week.
The IOC said last year it would include human rights clauses in new contracts to be signed by future Olympic host cities, strengthening its anti-discrimination policy.
Chinese police this week raided the office of a prominent non-governmental organisation in Beijing, a group which works to banish gender, HIV and other forms of discrimination.
IOC Sports Director Christophe Dubi, speaking in Beijing at the end of an inspection tour for the city`s bid, said he had read reports of the raid.
"Obviously our mandate is around the hosting of the Games, and it makes no doubt that non-discrimination is important," Dubi said.
"It makes no doubt that the same time that what we have to focus on as an evaluation commission is the Games preparation and the Games hosting."
The IOC has bought up such issues with host cities in the past, including during last year`s Winter Olympics in Russia`s Sochi, and will continue to do so, he added.
The IOC has for years been criticised by human rights groups, especially after awarding the Olympic Games to Beijing in 2008 and Sochi in 2014.
The latter Games were tarnished by a Russian anti-gay propaganda law that opponents said curtailed the rights of homosexuals in the country.
"We have non-discrimination as a reinforced clause of the host city contract," Dubi said.
"It has been discussed and we have obtained reassurance that they will live up to the expectations of the Olympic movement. Should they obtain the Games, this is what we will work with in the next seven years," he added, referring to the Beijing and Almaty bids.
The non-discrimination issue was not raised at a subsequent news conference with Beijing Mayor Wang Anshun, and no reporters from mainstream Western media organisations were called on to ask questions.
Five female anti-discrimination activists were also detained this month in China.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has overseen a broad crackdown on the country`s rights community since he took office in 2013, in what some groups call the worst suppression of dissent in two decades.
While Beijing won acclaim for its successful hosting of the 2008 Olympics, rights groups said the Games were marked by forced evictions -- claims angrily dismissed at the time by the government -- and other abuses.