Advertisement

The International Sports Law Journal

, Volume 17, Issue 3–4, pp 160–169 | Cite as

The International Olympic Committee and human rights reforms: game changer or mere window dressing?

  • Tomáš GrellEmail author
Article

Abstract

In the past few years, the International Olympic Committee has increasingly neglected other than commercial aspects of the Olympic Games. As a consequence, some of the latest editions of the Games were awarded to cities that turned out to be either unable or unwilling to respect and protect human rights of local citizens and other individuals contributing in one way or another to the successful delivery of the Games. One of the reasons why these cities and other entities involved in hosting and staging the Games failed to uphold human rights was that the International Olympic Committee did not explicitly require them to do so. This changed in February 2017 when, following the adoption of the Olympic Agenda 2020 in December 2014, explicit human rights obligations were finally added to the Host City Contract for the 2024 Games. This paper critically examines the International Olympic Committee’s human rights reforms, with a particular focus on the Host City Contract as the core legal document regulating the execution of the Games. It identifies several weaknesses and proposes solutions that could help reduce adverse human rights impacts of the Games. While welcoming the International Olympic Committee’s awareness of human rights risks related to the execution of the Games, the author of this paper remains sceptical that the reforms carried out to date will produce tangible results anytime soon.

Keywords

International Olympic Committee Olympic Games Human rights Agenda 2020 Host city contract United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights 

References

  1. Blackshaw I (2013) CAS 92/A/63 Gundel v. FEI. In: Anderson J (ed) Leading cases in sports law. Asser Press, The Hague, pp 65–74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Centre on Housing Rights and Evictions (2007) Fair play for housing rights: mega-events, olympic games and housing rights. http://www.ruig-gian.org/ressources/Report%20Fair%20Play%20FINAL%20FINAL%20070531.pdf. Accessed 15 Jan 2018
  3. Faut F (2014) the prohibition of political statements by athletes and its consistency with article 10 of the European convention on human rights: speech is silver, silence is gold? Int Sports Law J 14:253–263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Gauthier R (2016) Olympic Games Host Selection and the Law: a qualitative analysis. Jeffrey S. Moorad Sports Law J 23:1–67Google Scholar
  5. Gauthier R (2017) The international olympic committee, law, and accountability. Routledge, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  6. Geeraert A, Gauthier R (2018) Out-of-control Olympics: why the IOC is unable to ensure an environmentally sustainable olympic games. J Environ Planning Policy Manage 20:16–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Human Rights Watch (2008) “One Year of My Blood”. Exploitation of migrant construction workers in Beijing. https://www.hrw.org/report/2008/03/11/one-year-my-blood/exploitation-migrant-construction-workers-beijing. Accessed 15 Jan 2018
  8. Human Rights Watch (2013) Race to the bottom: exploitation of migrant workers ahead of Russia’s 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. https://www.hrw.org/report/2013/02/06/race-bottom/exploitation-migrant-workers-ahead-russias-2014-winter-olympic-games. Accessed 15 Jan 2018
  9. James M, Osborn G (2011) London 2012 and the impact of the UK’s olympic and paralympic legislation: protecting commerce or preserving culture? Modern Law Rev 74(3):410–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. James M, Osborn G (2016) The olympics, transnational law and legal transplants: the International Olympic Committee, Ambush Marketing and Ticket Touting. Legal Studies 36:93–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Lindholm J (2017) From Carlos to Kaepernick and Beyond: athletes’ Right to Freedom of Expression. Int Sports Law J 17:1–3CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Mallon B (2000) The olympic bribery scandal. J Olympic History 8(2):11–27Google Scholar
  13. Meier H, García B (2015) Protecting private transnational authority against public intervention: FIFA’s power over national governments. Public Admin 93(4):890–906CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© T.M.C. Asser Instituut 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.T.M.C. Asser InstituutThe HagueNetherlands

Personalised recommendations