PtG Article 30.09.2016

Rio violence increased during the Games, says new report

In a briefing, human rights organisations present numbers of police arrests, killings and evictions in the time around the Rio Games and conclude that the Games have had a negative impact on thousands of children and young people in Rio.

The number of people killed by police increased dramatically, up to 100%, in the months leading up to the Rio Olympics this summer.

And although 90% of tourists’ visiting the city for the Games rated the security at the Rio Olympics ‘good’ or ‘excellent’, a new report claims a "devastating impact of the 2016 Olympic Games on thousands of children and young people in Rio", says a press release about the briefing released on 29 September by human rights organisations Terre des Hommes, Children Win and Amnesty international.

The briefing is entitled “Breaking Record: Child rights violations during Rio 2016 Olympics”and documents an increase in police interventions with a violent outcome not only before the event but also during the games.

Eight people are confirmed to have been killed by the police during the Games, two of which were under the age of 18, the report says. 92 shootouts occurred during the two weeks of the Games and a number of protests were repressed, says the report estimating that at least 75 under-18s were detained during protests “for no apparent reasons”. According to the report, the percentage of occupancy in juvenile detentions in 2016 increased by 28% in comparison to 2015, reaching 224%. 

22,000 families have been evicted in the years between 2009 and 2015 creating “long-term psychological consequences for many children,” the report finds.

“Instead of a positive legacy, many children and teenagers in Rio de Janeiro and beyond will remember the Olympics, at which they were neither invited to nor included in, as an event which violated their rights,” the report states.

The responsibility of sport

The organisations behind the report call on the IOC to include human rights and child rights in their city contract for the 2024 Games and to include human rights when awarding the hosting right to a new city.

The report holds the Brazilian government to account, but stresses that sporting bodies have a duty to respect human rights.

“In fact, policies and practices adopted by the IOC have the potential to prevent, mitigate, document and respond appropriately to the full spectrum of abuses directly caused or exacerbated by the Olympics,” it says.

“It’s time for a change,” said Terre des Hommes' Secretary General, Ignacio Packer, at a press conference held in Geneva, Switzerland in relation to the launch of the report where he also said that mega-events left a trail of human rights violations and that the most vulnerable classes were often the ones who suffered the most.

“The whole structure underpinning sporting mega-events planning and implementation is marked by the lack of transparency and the very significant and undeniable trail of human rights violations in host cities all over the world, combined with increasing profits for FIFA, the IOC and its global and local commercial partners.”

Parker also referred to a list of recommendations issued by the Sport and Rights Alliance leading up to the Games. The recommendations call on the IOC to publicly commit to ensuring that human rights are not violated in relation to the Olympic Games and urge the IOC to implement monitoring and reporting to document that these human rights obligations are adhered to.

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