Rights experts call for elimination of racism in sports

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Children at a ‘Sport for Peace’ soccer tournament aimed at encouraging Liberians to embrace and use sport in promoting peace, reconciliation, and development. UN Photo/Eric Kanalstein

Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

In a message marking the occasion, a group of top human rights experts on racial discrimination is asking: What can we really do to put racism offside?

The group says "International Day on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is a unique opportunity to celebrate diversity, and on this day they urged all sportswomen and sportsmen, sports authorities and fans to take decisive action against intolerance and racism in sports.

The experts say that in every society, sportswomen and sportsmen are role models whose behaviour and conduct carries great influence on their fans and in particular, the youth. They stress that Sports are an opportunity to celebrate human achievement and excellence beyond the narrow boundaries of ethnicity, race or nationality.

Sports events should be seen as a chance to promote inter-culturalism in all societies based on the principles of equality, solidarity and respect for diversity. Racist insults and violence and discrimination have no place in these activities and negate the spirit of sportsmanship.

The experts say no country is immune to racist movements and racist manifestations by supporters of sport activities.

But today, they are urging world governments to declare zero tolerance to denigrating and racist expressions in sport; to swiftly address all manifestations of racism, discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, both in sport and in all other situations; and hold accountable the perpetrators.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration:  1’27″

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