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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

IOC flouting Olympic charter by ignoring Tibet issue: HRW

April 2, 2008

Sify, India
Tuesday, 01 April , 2008

Criticising the International Olympic Committee for its refusal to
dissociate itself from abuses linked to the preparation of the Beijing
Olympics, a leading human rights group has accused the IOC of flouting
the spirit and the letter of the Olympic charter with its actions.

"The question isn't whether the IOC is a human rights organisation. It's
whether the Olympic movement respects human rights. If it does,
remaining silent as China's crackdown intensifies isn't acceptable,"
said Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director of Human Rights Watch.

In a statement released on the eve of the 12-day IOC meeting in Beijing,
the group urged the Ethics Commission of IOC to articulate human rights
standards for host countries to end the "moral void in which it operates."

The IOC, the HRW said, has not spoken publicly about a wide variety of
rights abuses in China, including the ongoing restrictions on foreign
media that violate China's formal commitment made to win the right to
host the Games and the jailing of two civil rights activists who
criticised  the Beijing Olympics, Yang Chunlin and Hu Jia, on charges of
state subversion.

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It also cited the decision to carry the Olympic torch relay through
Tibet despite an ongoing crackdown on ethnic Tibetans, a military
lockdown of the region, and a denial by the Chinese authorities to allow
an international commission of inquiry to go to Tibet.

The HRW urged the Commission, an independent body in charge of
elaborating ethical principles based on the values and principles
enshrined in the Olympic Charter, to articulate standards compatible
with the respect of human rights to guide the Olympic movement.

It also asked the IOC to publicly assess the extent to which current
human rights violations linked to the preparation of the Games were
violating the commitments made by China at the time of its bid to host
the Olympic Games, and to establish a standing mechanism to address
human rights concerns.

According to the IOC rules, the principles elaborated by the Ethics
Commission must be respected by the IOC and its members, by the cities
wishing to organise the Olympic Games, by the Organising Committees of
the Olympic Games, by the National Olympic Committees as well as by the
participants in the Olympic Games.

"The IOC seems determined to take the Chinese government's line -- that
human rights are a political matter and shouldn't be discussed," said

"But that's inconsistent with the Olympic movement's original aim of
fostering 'respect for universal fundamental ethical principles."
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