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EU Sports Ministers: Human rights must be ensured at all international sporting events

Ministry of Education and Culture
Publication date 27.1.2021 16.57
Press release

The EU Ministers responsible for Sports submitted a letter to Commissioner Mariya Gabriel in order to secure human rights in sport and major sporting events, both within and outside of the European Union. The ministers wished to reiterate the message of the statement made by the EU sport ministers in 2013 where all states that participate in organising major sporting events, such as the Olympic Games, the Paralympic Games, World Championships, were called to respect their international human rights commitments.

The Ministers believe this message to be as true and important today as it was seven years ago. Some major international sporting events are taking place, or are being planned, in states where human rights violations or abuses have been reported. A reference can be made especially, but not only, to Belarus where “major human rights abuses” have been found to be “massive, systematic and proven beyond doubt”.

It is crucial to ensure human rights in all countries that organise major international sporting events. While fully respecting the autonomy of sport, international sports organisations should be encouraged to take accountable decisions on the hosts for major sporting events. As a next step, the Ministers ask the European Commission to commit to identifying an appropriate policy approach to this important issue.

The letter, initiated by Finland, is signed by all Member States.

Letter to Commissioner Gabriel on Human Rights in Sport


Ministry of Education and Culture
Tiina Kivisaari, Director, tel. +358 295 330 178, [email protected] 
Heidi Sulander, Senior Ministerial Adviser, tel. +358 295 330 385, [email protected]