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Mega-Sporting Events and Human Rights—A Time for More Teamwork?*


Mega-Sporting Events (MSEs) like the Olympics and FIFA World Cup inspire humanity and have the potential to promote human rights, including through job creation and urban regeneration. Yet for over a decade MSEs have been linked to a pattern of human rights abuses that reads like a panoply of Business and Human Rights themes. The very legitimacy and social license of MSEs is increasingly on the line. Yet we may have reached a tipping point. In the past year the Commonwealth Games Federation, FIFA, and the International Olympic Committee have begun to instigate human rights reforms. A new multi-stakeholder coalition, chaired by Mary Robinson and facilitated by IHRB, meanwhile is pursuing innovative collaborate solutions to the human rights issues at stake. Supported by international agencies, governments, sports bodies, sponsors and broadcasters, and civil society, this coalition seeks to promote learning and accountability in a sector for whom business and human rights is new territory.

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The Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) and Caux Round Table - Japan (CRT-J) have both produced articles in this edition of the Business and Human Rights Journal on mega-sporting events (MSEs) and human rights. One looks at the macro-picture, while the other focuses on efforts in Japan ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Our organizations have partnered for a number of years, and in 2015 and 2016 we produced joint submissions on human rights to the Tokyo Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games as this body seeks to develop its policies and processes around sustainability, responsible sourcing and human rights.


Research Fellow, Mega-Sporting Events Institute for Human Rights and Business [].

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Business and Human Rights Journal
  • ISSN: 2057-0198
  • EISSN: 2057-0201
  • URL: /core/journals/business-and-human-rights-journal
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