2nd December 2020

Summary of Recommendations for an IOC Human Rights Strategy

In March 2020, Shift’s Rachel Davis and the former UN Human Rights Chief, Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, delivered the report ‘Recommendations for an IOC Human Rights Strategy’ to IOC President Thomas Bach. The report in full has been made publicly available by the IOC ON THE ORGANIZATION’S WEBSITE. Below is a summary of the recommendations that were included in the report, grouped into five pillars.

The authors recommend:

1. Articulating the IOC’s human rights responsibilities, including by adopting appropriate amendments to the Olympic Charter and other core documents, developing a detailed human rights policy commitment reflecting the expectations of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and setting similar expectations for the Olympic Movement as a whole through the “Basic Universal Principles of Good Governance of the Olympic and Sports Movement”.

2. Embedding respect for human rights across the organization to ensure that the IOC’s commitment is driven into its values and culture, including by: hiring a Head of Human Rights to lead implementation of a new human rights strategy, supported by a Human Rights Unit; establishing a cross-functional steering group on human rights at Director-level; ensuring the IOC’s governing bodies take full account of human rights in their decision-making (including through the role of the proposed Human Rights Advisory Committee); and ensuring that there is human rights expertise in the IOC’s consultative Commissions.

3. Identifying and addressing human rights risks by strengthening human rights due diligence across the IOC’s operations, including by: routinely integrating the perspectives of affected stakeholders (such as athletes, journalists, volunteers, fans, workers and local communities) into the process of identifying and taking action on human rights risks; significantly strengthening the way in which athlete voice and representation informs decision-making within the IOC and the Movement more broadly; taking a more robust approach to using the IOC’s leverage with National Olympic Committees and International Federations on human rights issues; and integrating a focus on salient human rights issues (such as child protection and respect for athletes’ human rights) into existing areas of the IOC’s work.

4. Tracking and communicating on the IOC’s progress, including by: evaluating the human rights performance of the IOC’s partners, especially that of OCOGs for upcoming editions of the Olympic Games; deepening the IOC’s engagement with affected stakeholders and their legitimate representatives (including trade union representatives where athletes are unionized), or with credible proxies for affected stakeholders’ views where direct engagement is not possible; and enhancing transparency about the IOC’s human rights efforts.

5. Strengthening the wider remedy ecosystem in sport by contributing to a significant improvement in the quality of grievance mechanisms at all levels of sport, including strengthening sports bodies’ own mechanisms, supporting social dialogue processes in sport, and enabling access to state-based forms of remedy for severe human rights harms. We recommended that this should begin with an initial focus on: improving access to remedy in cases of harassment and abuse; improving Games-time grievance mechanisms (run by the IOC as well as by OCOGs); and reviewing the preparedness of the IOC’s own systems to handle human rights complaints.

Click Here to view the March 2020 Recommendations for an IOC Human Rights strategy, as published by the IOC on 2 December 2020.

• This media release was published by Shift on 2 December 2020, and should be read in conjunction with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) statement about moving forward in its approach to human rights. Click here to view the original.

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