Sport and Human Rights

Sport plays an important role in society and for promoting human rights. Through sport, and its principles of respect and fair play, we can unite people across borders and we can bridge social, cultural, and economic divides. Sport can teach us valuable lessons about non-discrimination and inclusivity and can show us what equal participation can look like. Sport can challenge stereotypes, which helps us to break down barriers in society and drive progress on issues that are fundamental to the enjoyment of our human rights. However, there are still issues that impact the enjoyment of human rights of those involved in sport, at every level from athletes and fans, to workers and the media.

National Human Rights Institutions have a unique role to play in helping to embed human rights into sport. In 2018, the CFNHRI adopted the London Declaration on Sport and Human Rights. This declaration sets out how NHRIs can protect human rights within sport, and drive progress in society by promoting human rights through sport. The Declaration highlights the importance of NHRIs providing advice and guidance to governments, sporting bodies, and civil society organisations across a broad range of human rights issues such as racism, gender equality, corruption, modern slavery and climate justice. Further, the Declaration recognises NHRIs’ unique monitoring and investigatory powers, as well as their ability to support legal action and seek justice for victims of discrimination and human rights abuses.

Our members are driving forward sport and human rights by developing guidance, influencing policy and legislative change, and by providing education and advocacy on human rights issues at local, national and global level.

NIHRC – Sport and Human Rights

The NIHRC began its work on sport and human rights in 2016, when it partnered with the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council (NICGC). In 2019, the NIHRC launched this animation with the NICGC on sport and human rights in Northern Ireland.





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