Centre Statement on Russian Invasion of Ukraine
25 Feb 2022
Author - Centre for Sport and Human Rights
We've all seen the harrowing reports coming from Ukraine in recent days and strongly condemn the military actions carried out by the Russian government. At the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, we're saddened by the failure to find a diplomatic solution, and recognise that this is now a global crisis, with deep concern for the people of Ukraine and those directly affected by the outbreak of hostilities. This aggression is in clear violation of international law, and contradicts the Russian government's obligations to protect, promote and fulfill human rights, in particular the right to life.
Military escalation places the lives of all civilians at risk, including those in sport, among them countless athletes, coaches, officials, and their families. Indeed, the world of sport has questions to ask itself and an obligation to uphold the very values that sport seeks to realise. It is time for sporting institutions to act in solidarity with affected people, and to reflect on and recognise their influential role in the world. This is yet another example of the pressing need for sport to adhere to international human rights and humanitarian standards, that may go beyond their current rules.
The entire sport ecosystem has responsibilities to respect and promote human rights. All actors across the global sports industry should denounce this act of aggression, conduct immediate due diligence on activities that are connected to or are perceived to condone these actions, and take urgent steps to mitigate harm. Institutions within sport now need to be proactive in exercising their duties of care towards everyone they have an obligation to protect, and to use their influence accordingly.
We welcome decisions to relocate events from Russia at this time, believe that discussions on sporting sanctions are appropriate, and salute the bravery of athletes from both Russia and Ukraine in taking a stand for peace and human rights.