Organisation / Experts

Center For Sport and Human Rights

The Centre for Sport and Human Rights is a human rights organisation for the world of sport.

The Centre's role is to work towards a world of sport that fully respects human rights through collective action and through the promotion of the Sporting Chance Principles.

The Centre's aims are threefold:

  • Support the prevention of human rights harms from occurring through sport
  • Support access to effective remedy where harms have occurred
  • Promote a positive human rights legacy from sport and sporting events

Sport has the power to be a uniting force for good in society in ways little else can. By harnessing this power and acting collectively, the diversity of actors involved in the world of sport have the potential to deliver concrete impacts for those affected by sport.

Through our Advisory Council, the Centre brings together an unprecedented alliance of intergovernmental organisations, governments, sports bodies, athletes, hosts, sponsors, broadcasters, civil society representatives, trade unions, employers and their associations, and national human rights institutions. These organisations have come together united in the understanding that there is a generation of work to be done to fully align the world of sport with the fundamental principles of human dignity, human rights, and labour rights.

The Centre performs a range of activities under a framework of sharing knowledge, building capacity, and increasing accountability. The Centre’s work is rooted in normative international human rights standards. In fulfilling this mandate, the Centre is committed to being independent, principles-based, inclusive, diverse, collaborative, accessible, and trusted.

The Centre is an impartial convenor and a safe space for aligning multi-stakeholder action. Within all activities there is an explicit focus on supporting governments, host actors, sports governing bodies, international federations, and companies. Each has a unique role to play in promoting human rights and implementing their duties and responsibilities to: prevent harms in line with the Sporting Chance Principles, take a clear cross-cutting focus on strengthening access to effective remedies for affected groups, and communicate transparently on progress towards full implementation.

The Centre's work is framed to be responsive to key stakeholders affected by sport – the athletes, communities, workers, volunteers and officials, journalists, and fans – as well as cross-cutting groups that may have particular vulnerabilities – namely, children, human rights defenders, women and girls, LGBTI+ people, people with disabilities, migrants, minority and ethnic groups, indigenous people, and historically disadvantaged communities.

In prioritising action, we consider the severity and likelihood of human rights risks arising, the potential for positive change, and the opportunities to learn, raise awareness, and increase capacity.

Launched in June 2018, the Centre is the outcome of many years of work by organisations now represented in its Advisory Council, and a three-year process of collective action through the network that led to the Centre's formation (the Mega Sporting Events Platform for Human Rights (MSE Platform)).

The MSE Platform first convened in November 2015 by the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB), and throughout the next two and a half years demonstrated the value of collective action through a range of concrete activities including producing research, tools, and convening stakeholders in local and global forums to share knowledge, assess progress, and identify challenges.

A commitment to establishing the Centre was made by the MSE Platform’s Steering Committee in a joint statement issued in November 2017, on the occasion of the second Sporting Chance Forum in Geneva.

The Centre for Sport and Human Rights is chaired by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Centre is being incubated as a subsidiary of IHRB before transitioning into a fully independent organisation from 2021.

The Centre is registered as a Charity in the UK (Registered Charity Number: 1187647) and the Trustees are Frances House, Rae Lindsay, and Ron Popper.

During 2020, the Centre is overseen by its Trustees and a Governance Committee for an interim period until a new board of Trustees is appointed from 2021. Trustees will be appointed by the Centre's Advisory Council, which convenes bi-annually to set and monitor the Centre's strategy and impact and to hold the Centre accountable to its mandate.

Information about the Centre’s policies and procedures, including with regard to complaints and grievances is available under policies.

The Centre is exclusively funded by donations from its Advisory Council members and thus relies on donations from a range of sources to implement its work, seeking to balance income from a range of governments, foundations, sports bodies, and companies. Donations from sports bodies and companies go into the Centre’s core funding with no conditions attached. The Centre does not provide any fee-for-service work or paid consultancy.

The Centre is also grateful to receive pro bono support from Clifford Chance LLP.

Location: - Geneva, Switzerland
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