Speakers on the panel include Team GB Olympic champion Kelly Sotherton; Patrick Gasser, Head of Football and Social Responsibility at UEFA; Natalie Gedra, Brazil ESPN Sports correspondent; Alexander Agapov, president of the Russian LGBT Sport Federation and Vitalii Gorokhov, academic and political scientist at St. Petersburg RANEPA academy.
Sporting mega events create big opportunities to raise human rights issues in countries where they are hosted, under the spotlight of global attention. Host countries can be affected in a number of negative ways through people displacement, environmental impact, economic costs, labour rights violations and discrimination against ethnic and other minorities.
At the same time, the international spotlight can generate pressure to improve the human rights situation of host countries, offering a compelling human narrative through sporting achievement.
How far that positive social change can go – both during and after sporting mega events – the social legacy for the affected populations and minority communities and how sustainable it can be in the long term will all be discussed by participants at the forum, with reference to specific recent events including the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018.
The 2018 Social Forum of the UN Human Rights Council will take place from 1 to 3 October 2018 in Room XXV, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland. Convened by the Human Rights Council, it provides a unique space for open dialogue between civil society actors, member state representatives and intergovernmental organisations, on a theme chosen by the Council each year.
This year The Human Rights Council decided that the 2018 Social Forum should focus on “the possibilities of using sport and the Olympic ideal to promote human rights for all and to strengthen universal respect for them.”
The event will take place at 13:30 on 2 October at room XXV of the UN headquarters in Geneva. The Social Forum is open to attend for the individuals and representatives of NGOs, prior registration is required following the link: https://reg.unog.ch/event/18943/
The full programme of the Social Forum and Side events can be found here: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Poverty/SForum/Pages/SForum2018.aspx
Fare activities at mega events
The Fare network is an international umbrella organisation uniting ethnic minority groups, NGOs, human rights organisations, and LGBT+ groups who work to promote diversity and fighting discrimination in and through football.
As part of its core activities Fare has been engaging with international sports mega events such as UEFA EURO 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 and FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 to promote diversity and contribute to positive social change.
In Russia Fare opened two Diversity Houses in Moscow and St. Petersburg; safe spaces for minorities featuring events organised by the Russian and international civil society groups, fans, LGBT+ organisations and human rights groups. Fare also prepared a Diversity Guide to Russia for visiting fans, mapping safe and welcoming spaces for minorities in all 11 host cities and providing links to local civil society groups. A hotline for minority fans facing discrimination was activated for the tournament’s duration.
The Fare Diversity Houses at the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 were the only human rights interventions at the tournament, attended by international football fans and participating Football Associations and providing a platform for debate around football and human rights to more than 50 local NGOs, in an environment where such groups usually find it difficult to operate.