Those are the words of International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach, speaking at the 128th Session of the IOC in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“We are living in the middle of a modern and diverse society that holds us accountable for what we do. This is why from the very beginning of developing the Olympic Agenda 2020, it was important to have close consultation with stakeholders from inside and outside the Olympic Movement.
“This is what made the Olympic Agenda 2020 truly inclusive, transparent and reflective of the many priorities of all stakeholders.
“Our founder, Pierre de Coubertin, put it well, when he said: “Olympism is a destroyer of dividing walls. It calls for air and light for all.”
President Bach said that the IOC has opened its doors and windows to building partnerships with other like minded stakeholders.
“We let air and light in through dialogue. We speak with a wide range of stakeholders from all walks of life. These include, among others, the United Nations, Transparency International, Human Rights Watch, the Committee to Protect Journalists and the International Trade Union Confederation and other NGOs.
“In this context we also discussed the responsibility of the IOC with regard to political issues and human rights. In all these talks we made it very clear what our responsibility is and what the limits are.
“This responsibility is to ensure that the Principles of the Olympic Charter and the Host City Contract are fully respected in the context of the Olympic Games.
“That means for all participants and for all directly Olympic-related issues. This includes among many other matters the principles of non-discrimination and the right to freely report from the Olympic Games. Outside the context of the Olympic Games the IOC has to respect the laws of sovereign states. The IOC is not a world Government. Governments have their own responsibilities.”
He said the Olympic Values of tolerance, respect, excellence, non-discrimination sends a strong message to the world – the strong message spread by the athletes living together in the Olympic Village in a community where all people are equal.
“In my many discussions about this topic I get the feeling that this principle is more and more accepted.”
He said how the IOC lives up to this responsibility can be demonstrated by the approach of its Evaluation Commission. The Commission have been tasked to openly raise various issues by taking into consideration the views of other NGOs and independent experts. The Commission discuss these questions openly with the Governments and seek the relevant assurances.
“Our Evaluation Commission for 2022 – even if it started working before Olympic Agenda 2020 – has already applied this principle.
“This is what Olympic Agenda 2020 means for all of us.”