Ban commends the "amazing" power of sports to unite people

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Secretary-General addresses the General Assembly of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Sochi, Russian Federation

The popularity of sport transcends all barriers and has an amazing power to unite people as one in solidarity.

That was UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's message on the eve of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Addressing the General Assembly of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the first time, Mr. Ban urged warring parties worldwide to observe a truce during the games.

"The Olympics show the power of sports to bring together individuals regardless of age, race, class, religion, ethnicity, sex, sexual orientation and gender identity. Different groups are meeting on the playing field. Not the battlefield. In my work, I attend many events that bring together countries on the issue of war, poverty, disasters and other problems. Today, I am in Sochi to witness countries uniting in a spirit of friendly competition and goodwill."

The Secretary-General also condemned what he called the "ugly, hurtful racist displays at sporting matches" as well as attacks on the Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community.

Hatred of any kind, Mr. Ban stressed, has no place in the 21st century.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration: 1’22″

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