In Sochi, Russia, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has praised the power of sport to promote human rights and unite people regardless of their age, race, class, religious, ability, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity in a first of its kind address to the International Olympic Committee (IOC).
“We must all raise our voices against attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people,” Mr. Ban said as the first UN chief to address an IOC session. “We must oppose the arrests, imprisonments and discriminatory restrictions they face.”
Mr. Ban cited Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter which enshrines the IOC’s opposition to any form of discrimination. He added that the UN stands “strongly” behind its own ‘Free & Equal’ campaign and looks forward “to working with the IOC, Governments and other partners around the world to build societies of equality and tolerance.”
“Hatred of any kind must have no place in the 21st century,” the top UN official stressed, noting also the need to combat “ugly and hurtful racist displays at sporting matches.”