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The President of the UN General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, today made a solemn appeal to the UN Member States for the observance of the Olympic Truce for the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, following the resolution adopted in December. The resolution calls for the Olympic Truce to be respected from 27 January to 20 March 2022 -– seven days before the start of the Olympic Winter Games until seven days after the Paralympic Games.
Today’s solemn appeal is another demonstration of the support for the political neutrality of the Olympic Games and the International Olympic Committee, reiterating the message of the Olympic Truce resolution through which all Member States were called upon “to cooperate with the International Olympic Committee and the International Paralympic Committee in their efforts to use sport as a tool to promote peace, dialogue and reconciliation in areas of conflict during and beyond the period of the Olympic and Paralympic Games”.
“The Olympic Movement aspires to contribute to a peaceful future for all humankind through the educational value of sport, in particular youth,” said Shahid in the appeal. “The Games will bring together athletes from all parts of the world in the greatest of international sports events as a means to promote peace, mutual understanding and goodwill among nations and peoples – goals that are also part of the founding values of the United Nations”.
Shahid welcomed “the leadership of Olympic and Paralympic athletes in promoting peace and human understanding through sport and the Olympic ideal, and the commitment made by various Member States of the United Nations to developing national and international programmes that promote peace and conflict resolution and the Olympic and Paralympic values through sport, and through culture, education and sustainable development.”
He went on: “As President of the General Assembly at its 76th session, I solemnly appeal to all Member States to demonstrate their commitment to the Olympic Truce for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 and to undertake concrete actions at the local, national, regional and world levels to promote and strengthen a culture of peace and harmony based on the spirit of the Truce. Referring to the original tradition of the Olympic Truce practised in ancient times, as described in resolution 76/13, I also call upon all warring parties of current armed conflicts around the world to boldly agree to true mutual ceasefires for the duration of the Olympic Truce, thus providing an opportunity to settle disputes peacefully.”
“The IOC very much welcomes the solemn appeal by the President of the UN General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid,” said the IOC President Thomas Bach. “Today’s appeal strengthens the message coming from the Olympic Truce Resolution, which was adopted by consensus of all 193 UN Member States last December, even further. With today’s solemn appeal, the United Nations once again supports the political neutrality of the Olympic Games and the IOC, which was already supported in the Olympic Truce Resolution.
“The UN Member States are supporting the mission of the Olympic Games to unite the best winter sports athletes of the entire world, without any discrimination whatsoever, in a peaceful and respectful competition. This bond of our shared humanity is even more relevant in our polarised world today,” Bach added.
Entitled “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic Ideal”, the Olympic Truce Resolution was adopted by consensus of all 193 UN Member States and co-sponsored by 173 Member States at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on 2 December 2021. It demonstrates the recognition by the UN’s international community of the power of sport and the relevance of the Olympic Games to bring the world together in peaceful competition, providing hope for a better future.
The resolution “underlines the importance of cooperation among Member States to collectively implement the values of the Olympic Truce around the world, and emphasises the important role of the International Olympic Committee, the International Paralympic Committee and the United Nations in this regard”.
It also supports “the expectation that the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 will be a meaningful opportunity to harness the power of sport to advance the world by fostering an atmosphere of peace, development, resilience, tolerance and understanding, and welcoming all the delegations of National Olympic and Paralympic Committees to participate in the Games”.
The Olympic Truce – a tradition for more than 3,000 years
The tradition of the Olympic Truce – “Ekecheiria” – involves ensuring a halt of all hostilities, allowing the safe passage and participation of athletes and spectators taking part in the Olympic Games. The resolution reaffirms that the Olympic values of peace, solidarity and respect are as important across the world today as they were over 3,000 years ago, when the ancient Olympic Games first took place in Greece.
The main objectives pursued by the IOC through the Olympic Truce are to mobilise young people for the promotion of the Olympic ideal; to use sport to help build bridges between communities in conflict; and, more generally, to create a window of opportunity for dialogue and reconciliation.
The International Olympic Committee is a not-for-profit, civil, non-governmental, international organisation made up of volunteers which is committed to building a better world through sport. It redistributes more than 90 per cent of its income to the wider sporting movement, which means that every day the equivalent of USD 3.4 million goes to help athletes and sports organisations at all levels around the world.