Sunday, 23 February 2014

The 2014 Winter Olympics & United Nations' Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's Speech

This day marks the official end of the XXII Olympic Winter Games that were held in Sochi. These are excerpts from Ban Ki-moon's beautiful (diversity) speech he held on 6 February, one day before the Winter Olympics started.

"(...) The Olympics show the power of sport to bring together individuals regardless of age, race, class, religion, ability, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity. Different groups are meeting on the playing field, not the battlefield. (...)
The athletes here carry the flags of different nations - but they are all joining under the banner of equality, fair play, understanding and mutual respect. Their histories, traditions and day-to-day lives offer a wonderful parade of human diversity. And the athletes send a unified message that people and nations can put aside their differences. (...)

The Olympic Movement also promotes human rights, including the rights of all persons with disabilities, working closely with the Paralympic Committee. The Paralympic Games are an essential part of the Sochi Winter Games. I am one of millions of people inspired by those athletes.
The Olympics have served to break down negative stereotypes and build positive attitudes.I am pleased that the United Nations counts many Olympic athletes as champions of our causes - peace, development and human rights. These efforts are all helping to advance the Millennium Development Goals, our targets for addressing poverty, disease, environmental degradation and inequality.(...)

Sports can help empower women. Just think - for the first time in the history of winter Olympic Games, women will compete in ski jump. Of course, you will not see me at the top of the ski jump. But I will be cheering for women to jump as high and leap as far as their talent will take them. This is women's rights in action, and we have a responsibility to build a platform for women to jump. (...)

Sports can help advance human rights. Last year, the United Nations marked the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination by focusing on the power of sport. We are all aware of the need to combat ugly and hurtful racist displays at sporting matches. And this past December, the theme of Human Rights Day was "Sport comes out against homophobia." Many professional athletes, gay and straight, are speaking out against prejudice. We must all raise our voices against attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people. We must oppose the arrests, imprisonments and discriminatory restrictions they face.
I know that Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter enshrines the IOC's opposition to any form of discrimination. The United Nations stands strongly behind our own "Free and Equal" campaign, and I look forward to working with the IOC, Governments and other partners around the world to build societies of equality and tolerance.

Hatred of any kind must have no place in the 21st century. (...) Let us work together to make this world better for all." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon via

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