Item 3 - Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association. JST USA (27.06.2024)

56th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council

Joint Statement on Athlete Human Rights Defenders

Mr. President, I am pleased to deliver this statement on behalf of [XX] countries.

We are firmly committed to upholding and promoting the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, including for athletes who use their platforms to advocate for human rights.

We must recognize athletes who are human rights defenders by protecting them when they face reprisals including suspension from sport, intimidation, harassment, detention, and transnational repression from sport governing bodies, state actors, or fans.

For example, athletes who have supported racial justice at home or abroad have found themselves shunned by their sports leagues and unable to find work.

Others have been banned from their national teams or have faced government reprisal upon returning home from international competitions after protesting domestic human rights issues.

Sport and individual athletes play a significant role in society in both shaping and promoting universal values and ideals.

Fundamental freedoms, including of expression, association, and peaceful assembly, must be protected, including in relation to athletes, sport, and megasporting events.

I thank you.