Lausanne, Switzerland. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced a series of initial steps on human rights today, following recommendations made by Shift’s Vice President, Rachel Davis in collaboration with HRH Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The measures were made public after the IOC’s most recent Executive Board meeting, in Lausanne.

These steps include:

  • Adopting a comprehensive human rights strategy encompassing the IOC’s responsibilities in its own operations (including the activities of the IOC administration and its role as organizer of the Olympic Games) and setting out its role to advance respect for human rights as the leader of the Olympic Movement;
  • Establishing a Human Rights Unit with expert leadership, and continuing to strengthen human rights due diligence, the use of leverage and engagement with affected stakeholders in existing areas of work, including engagement with Olympic Games hosts;
  • The IOC will also establish a previously announced Human Rights Committee once the strategy is elaborated and the internal resources are in place to make it operational. 

Rachel Davis and Prince Zeid submitted the recommendations in February as part of their joint report ‘Recommendations for an IOC Human Rights Strategy’, commissioned by the IOC in March 2019. During the past twelve months, Rachel Davis and Prince Zeid evaluated the IOC’s current approach, including through consultation with key internal staff and expert civil society stakeholders. Shift has been providing advisory support to the IOC since May 2018  and will continue to do so during the transition to the IOC’s new internal human rights capacities. We are committed to playing an objective, critical and transformative role in embedding respect for human rights in global sports governance, working side-by-side with others to drive meaningful change in the sports sector as a whole.