— Published 2 February 2023

The IOC must go further

Support for the IOC in its “exploration” of a way to reintegrate Russian and Belarusian athletes into international competitions. It comes from the UN. On Wednesday 1 February, two experts from the international organisation welcomed the approach of the Olympic body, which has also been strongly criticised by Ukraine and several European countries. Alexandra Xanthaki, the UN special rapporteur on cultural rights, and Ashwini K.P, her counterpart on contemporary forms of racism, nonetheless stressed in a statement that the IOC should not consider authorising only athletes from the two countries that did not actively support the war in Ukraine. “This condition opens the door to pressure and interpretation,” say the two experts, who were mandated by the Human Rights Council. “The same rules must apply to all athletes, whatever their nationality“. They urge the IOC to “go further, by ensuring the non-discrimination of any athlete on the basis of their nationality. The IOC and the wider Olympic community also have a compelling obligation to respect the Olympic Charter and international human rights standards prohibiting discrimination“.