Foul Play: The Human Cost of World Sports

Wednesday July 13, 2016, the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center hosted a panel of human rights experts to discuss the human rights violation which often accompany international mega sports events. The panelist included: Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch, Sunjeev Bery, advocacy director, Middle East and North Africa at Amnesty International, David Kramer, senior director for human rights and democracy at the The McCain Institute for International Leadership, and Pedro Abramovay, regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean and Director of the Latin America Program at Open Society Foundations. The event was moderated by Robert Herman, vice president of Emergency Assistance Programs and Multilateral Advocacy at Freedom House.

International sporting events — once the symbols of peace, cooperation, and unity — now too often prompt human rights abuses, censorship, discrimination, and doping scandals. As the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro near, audiences from around the world will be lured by Olympic glory and forget the people living in the shadows: those who are denied the spotlight in favor of their governments’ public relations campaigns. In the lead up to the games, these human rights experts on Brazil, Qatar, and Russia shed light on the violations surrounding mega-sporting events and offered recommendations on what the international community can do to end this cycle of abuse.

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Image: Virginia Bennett, principal deputy assistant secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor at the US Department of State, delivers opening remarks.