IOC cites ‘human rights’ as reason not to ban Russian and Belarusian athletes from Asian Games

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said on February 2 about its decision to consider allowing Russian and Belarusian athletes, who do not actively support the war in Ukraine, to participate in international sports events in Asia. clarified the details.

The IOC said in January that it “welcomes and appreciates” the offer by the Olympic Council of Asia to give Russian and Belarusian athletes a chance to compete in Asia.

However, the announcement provoked a backlash among Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky.

It has been updated Question-and-answer session Published on its official website, the IOC referred to the views of two special rapporteurs of the UN Human Rights Council. Special Rapporteur in the area of ​​cultural rights and Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

Them opinion He supported the view that Russians and Belarusians should not face discrimination based on nationality and that the IOC is obliged to comply with the Olympic Charter and international human rights norms against discrimination.

“I understand the desire, along with all other Ukrainians, to support Ukrainian athletes and the Ukrainian Olympic community, who have suffered terribly from the war,” the expert said in the opinion.

Zelensky says Russian, Belarusian players should be banned

The committee then addressed criticism from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who had asked the IOC not to allow Russian and Belarusian athletes to compete in any games, including the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris.

“Olympic principles and war are fundamentally at odds” Zelensky Said on Telegram on January 28.

“Russia must stop aggression and terrorism. Only then will it be possible to talk about Russia’s participation in the context of the Olympic movement,” the president added.

Separately statement On January 30, on Twitter, Ukrainian presidential aide Mikhail Podoljak accused the IOC of being a “promoter of war.”

“[The] The IOC is a promoter of war, murder and destruction. The IOC is happy to watch Russia destroy Ukraine, providing Russia with a platform to promote genocide and encourage more killings,” Podoljak wrote.

The Ukrainian National Olympic Committee has also threatened to boycott the 2024 Summer Olympics and plans to hold a meeting on the issue on February 3. ukriform.

In a Q&A, the IOC said, “It is very regrettable to escalate this discussion with the threat of a boycott at this premature stage.” “The participation of individual neutral athletes with Russian or Belarusian passports in the 2024 Paris Olympics has not yet been discussed,” it said.

the weight of the white house

Finally, it rejected what some Ukrainian officials called “defamatory remarks.”

“The threat of a boycott of the Olympic Games, which the Ukrainian NOC is currently considering, is contrary to the foundations of the Olympic Movement and the principles it upholds. to participate in the Olympic Games.”

“As history shows, previous boycotts served no political purpose and only punished the boycotting NOC players.”

White House press secretary Carine Jean-Pierre also addressed the issue. Press conference The Biden administration was asked whether it believed Russian and Belarusian athletes should be able to compete at the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Jean-Pierre said the United States “mobilized the world to help the Ukrainian people” and “worked to hold Russia accountable for the brutal and barbaric war waged by their forces against Ukraine. ‘ said.

“If a sporting organization or event organizer, such as the International Olympic Committee, chooses to allow Russian or Belarusian athletes to participate in a sporting event, they should be aware that they are not representing the Russian or Belarusian nation. I have to be completely clear,” she said. .

About 32 sports are programmed for the Olympics in 2024. 10,500 Athletes are scheduled to participate in hundreds of continental and international competitions.