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Human rights sports body granted upgraded Swiss legal status

Qatar has drawn criticism for failing to protect workers building stadiums for the next World Cup. Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

An organisation set up in Switzerland to prevent sport from harming society and athletes has been granted full association status in Geneva.

This content was published on July 8, 2021 - 15:39
swissinfo.ch/mga

The Centre for Sport and Human RightsExternal link was awarded the status of an independent non-profit association under Swiss law on Thursday. It has been running since 2018 under a different legal status.

Switzerland was chosen as a base for the association due to the country’s political neutrality and because it is already home to many international sporting bodies, such as football’s FIFA and the International Olympic Committee.

Speaking to SWI swissinfo.ch last month, CEO of the Centre Mary Harvey (a former United States football player) said that the idea of the Centre was born from controversies surrounding major sporting events such as the Rio Olympics in 2016, the Sochi Olympics in 2014 and worker deaths in the lead up to the Qatar World Cup in 2022.

The Center is also concerned about the welfare of athletes, particularly when it comes to sexual abuse, gender equality and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is personal for me. I have profound humility for how lucky I have been when I hear the stories of athletes who have been through abuse. Sport has given me so much personally but I’m aware that it can also do harm,” Harvey said.

The government, which helped set up the Centre, said it is in line with Switzerland’s foreign policy and human rights strategy. “In the next few years, Switzerland will do its utmost to ensure that human rights are observed at major sporting events and related economic activities,” a statement on Thursday read.


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In compliance with the JTI standards

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