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Introductory Remarks by Ambassador Alexandros Alexandris, Permanent Representative of Greece to the UN, to the side event on Human Rights and Olympic Ideals – Tuesday 11th of June 2013, PdN room IX

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Excellencies, Dear Colleagues, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I would like to welcome you all to this side event on Olympic ideals and human rights organized by the Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation in cooperation with the Missions of the Republic of Korea, Brazil and Greece. I would like to thank particularly my colleagues Ambassadors Alexey Borodavkin of the Russian Federation, Maria Nazareth Farani Azevedo  of Brazil and CHOI Seokyoung of the Republic of Korea as well as their collaborators for making this event happen.

Allow me first to introduce to you our distinguished panellists: 

Ms Navi Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights who actually needs no introduction,

Mr. Wilfried Lemke, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sports for development and peace

H.E. Ms. Maria Nazareth Farani Azevedo, Permanent Representative of Brazil to UNOG

H.E. Mr. Valery Kuzmin, Ambassador at large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Mr. Kim Yonghwan, Former Vice-Minister on culture and sports and tourism of the Republic of Korea


In the next two hours we are going to explore collectively ways of using the potential of the Olympic Games to wider spread human rights ideals such as equality, non-discrimination and dignity which are enshrined in Olympic Charter as well as Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Allow me a few words on how the so called today Olympic ideals were conceived and applied in Ancient Greece and particularly in Ancient Olympia the birthplace of the Olympic Games about 2800 years ago. You can see in the background a photo of ancient Olympia a wonderful place which I invite you to visit.


Citizens of Ancient Greece lived by a set of ideals, values and morals :   Areti (Virtue),  Amilla (Noble competition), Timi (Honor), Elefteria (Freedom), Irini (Peace).

For an Athlete, only a life with honour was worth living. A honourable man was a man with self-discipline and respect for himself, the Gods and the laws of the city. He valued moral rewards more than profit. The athlete who was well-respected by his fellow athletes and citizens was the one who aspired to be the best. He showed respect for his fellow competitors and followed the rules of the Games. A noble competitor accepted both defeat and victory gracefully. As to Peace, the Olympic Truce (ekecheria) was introduced, according to which all conflicts ceased seven days prior to the opening of the Olympic Games and ended on the seventh day following the closing of the Games. 

Dear Colleagues and friends,

In our times these Olympic ideals and values are endangered by excessive commercialisation, distortion of noble competition through doping and other practices, while peace is challenged every day in many parts of the world.  On the other hand trends towards racism, xenophobia, in a climate of global financial crisis, constitute a clear and present danger to peace, stability and prosperity. We all know what has happened when racism and xenophobia and the ideology of Nazism prevailed.

Our countries as part of the UN family, traditionally attached to Olympic values and hosted or will host Olympic Games, have a moral duty to expand Olympism and keep the Olympic ideals in the agenda not only in the context of the Human Rights Council but also in the widest possible context of human activity. We see this initiative as a first step towards a Resolution to be presented at  the 24th Session of the Human Rights Council and towards other related activities which would possibly follow in the future.

I thank you for your attention and without further ado I would like to give now the floor to our first speaker the High commissioner for Human Rights Ms Navi Pillay.

Invitation to a side-event 11th of June 2013

Promoting Human Rights through Olympic Ideals: the Way to Make it Heard

On the occasion of the Human Rights Council, 23rd regular session, permanent missions of Russia, the Republic of Korea, Greece and Brazil have the honor to invite to a side-event:

Tuesday, 11th June 2013

13:00 – 15:00

in Palais des Nations room IX


This side-event is aimed at promoting awareness, understanding and application of human rights principles through sport and the Olympic ideals. It is important in terms of anticipation of a resolution on human rights and Olympic ideals that we propose to run during the 24th  session of the Human Rights Council.
The main goal of the side-event is to discuss ways of using the potential of the Olympic Games to wider spread human rights ideals such as equality, non-discrimination and dignity which are enshrined in Olympic Charter as well as Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Such significant sport events as Olympic Games attract a lot of people thus giving a unique opportunity to widely disseminate human rights priorities.

Moderator:
H.E. Mr. Alexandros Alexandris, Permanent Representative of Greece to UNOG in Geneva

Panelists:
Ms. Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights
Mr. Wilfried Lemke, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Sports for development and peace
H.E. Ms. Maria Nazareth Farani Azevedo, Permanent Representative of Brazil to UNOG
H.E. Mr. Valery Kuzmin, Ambassador at large, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
Mr. Kim Yonghwan, Former Vice-Minister on culture and sports and tourism of the Republic
of Korea

Snacks and drinks will be offered prior to the event in front of room IX

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