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International Geneva
Dominique Soguel  Expertise: Multinationals, international relations, society, immigration, terrorism and toddler antics. Initials: ds

What should be done to ensure mega sporting events do not harm human rights or the environment?

China hosted the 2022 Winter Olympic Games in Beijing. The Asian nation has very low average annual snowfall so more than 350 snow machines were needed to pull off the event – raising sustainability concerns. Its human rights record was another flashpoint issue with a United Nations report calling the arbitrary and discriminatory detention of Uyghur Muslims, in Xinjiang province, a potential "crime against humanity".

Qatar this month is hosting the FIFA World Cup. The football event had to be delayed from July to November to avoid 40+°C temperatures disrupting football matches. NGO and media investigations have condemned the labour conditions of the migrant workers who built the stadiums. The Arab nation has also come under attack for laws that criminalise same-sex relationships.

What criteria should sports organisations consider when choosing a venue for international competitions such as the World Cup or the Olympics? Should countries with problematic human rights records or unsuitable climate conditions be allowed to host such events?

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