Rep. Capuano Calls on the International Olympic Committee to Consider Human Rights Records of Host Countries

March 8, 2001 -- Rep. Michael Capuano today called on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to consider human rights issues when choosing a host city for the 2008 games. Beijing, Osaka, Paris, Istanbul and Toronto are all candidates for this honor.

In a letter to the IOC, Rep. Capuano stated, "We believe that the Olympics symbolize the triumphs of humanity, but how can humanity triumph when people are shackled in chains, silenced, hidden or oppressed?" Thirty members of Congress joined Rep. Capuano in sending the letter.

"I am deeply concerned about the human rights records of some countries being considered by the IOC. The Olympic Games bring together the best athletes in the world and showcases not only individual talent, but the value of teamwork and the triumph of the human spirit over adversity. The host city is favorably showcased and we should not bestow this honor on a country that oppresses its own people," stated Rep. Capuano.

Rep. Capuano pointed out that the Olympic Charter outlines nine fundamental principles of the games, including "the establishment of a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity". Furthermore, the Olympic Charter emphasizes that the "goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised without discrimination of any kind. . ." "Countries with poor records on human rights do not live up to the letter or the spirit of this charter," stated Rep. Capuano.

The IOC is traveling to prospective host countries and reviewing their applications. A decision will be made during the 112th IOC Session in Moscow on July 13, 2001.