Byron Peacock, cure a friend of mine and master’s student at the Graduate Institute of International and Development studies in Geneva gave me this in reaction to Mr Verbruggen intervention and speech earlier this morning. I am inserting here, psychiatrist without any changes, his comment and question. I have to say though, that due to Mr. Verburuggen’s other commitments and the need for him to leave before the session ended, this question was not asked in the room.
Mr. Verbruggen, I feel that a legitimate question must be asked about the IOC’s repeated assertion that the practice of sport is a human right. Although sport is not recognized as a human right is any legally binding international instruments the IOC does depend on other human rights such as the right to private peaceable assembly, and the right to freedom of expression and we see how the IOC reacts when these rights are infringed as when it took action against Iraq last year and when it had to scramble immediately before the Beijing games last year when the freedom of expression was severely limited in contravention of Olympic standards. Although issues of human rights are admittedly very complex and I would agree that the IOC should make an effort to stay out of highly controversial political issues (since these are clearly not their areas of expertise or operation), how can the IOC advocate among governments that sport should be a human right if is no place for a human rights discourse in Olympism? I believe, for example, that President Rogge and former VP Pound have implied in interviews since the Beijing Games, that HR considerations will have to play a role in future Games. Is that a possible future for the IOC?