Human rights and equality enshrined in the Olympic Charter

10 / 6 / 2021

The Olympic and Paralympic Games, a quadrennial sports festival

The Tokyo Games, due to take place in 2020, were postponed due to an unimaginable global outbreak of the new coronavirus infection. The outbreak of the new coronavirus continued, and questions continued to be questioned about whether the Olympic Games should be held. During this period, the principles set out in the Olympic Charterwere also frequently discussed, and here we would like to consider human rights and equality as codified in the Olympic Charter.
Olympic Charter [in force from 17 July 2020] International Olympic Committee.

The fundamental principle of Olympism in the Olympic Charter derives from Baron de Coubertin, the father of the modern Olympic Games, who advocated "the improvement of mind and body through sport and, moreover, the contribution to the realisation of a peaceful and better world by understanding each other in a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play, transcending various differences such as culture and nationality.
We have extracted the sections of the fundamental principles of Olympism that mention human rights and discrimination.

4. playing sport is a human right. All individuals shall be free from discrimination of any kind and shall be given the opportunity to play sport in the Olympic spirit. The Olympic spirit requires mutual understanding as well as a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.


Section 4 first makes it clear that playing sport itself is a 'human right'. Human rights are innate to every person born into this world and are for everyone to be free and equal and for us to live happily. There must be no discrimination or inequality of any kind. Anyone who wants to participate in sport must be given an equal opportunity to do so. We also want people to understand people who are different from themselves (mutual understanding).

6. shall ensure that the rights and freedoms set out in this Olympic Charter are enjoyed without discrimination of any kind on grounds of race, colour, gender, sexual orientation, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, origin or other status.


Section 6 lists 'race', 'skin colour' and 'sex' as prohibited discrimination. Every detail and wording are checked.
The current form of discrimination to be prohibited has only been in place since 2017. Until then, 'sexual orientation', 'political or other opinion' and 'social origin' were not specifically mentioned and were included under 'other'.
There must have been discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation as well as gender for some time. However, it was rarely mentioned as discrimination, and if it was, it was probably not voiced widely. It is not difficult to imagine that they have been forced to endure it.

However, it is now clearly stated that no one should be discriminated by neither sexual orientation nor their social origin. There may be new non-discrimination prohibitions may be further updated in the years to come.
It would be better if all people could have the same awareness with the single phrase 'no discrimination of any kind', but it seems that our human consciousness and thinking are surprisingly difficult to adjust and it is undeniable that a prehistoric gender consciousness still remains.

The vision for the Tokyo 2020 Games is 'diversity and harmony'. "Diversity and harmony" means recognising and accepting the "different sides" of people who have different sides to oneself. If this vision is realised, the world will be kinder and closer than it is today.

At the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the athletes representing their countries compete against each other, but it is not just about winning and losing in a competition. The athletes are also competing against their own personal goals and themselves, training to be better today and tomorrow than they were yesterday. It is not only the results that are valued, but also how they worked on them, which is why "playing sport is one of the human rights".