IJF pledge Support for Refugees Ahead of First-ever Global Refugee Forum
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) AND UNHCR, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, announced that a movement consisting of over 70 partners has expressed its commitment to improve sporting opportunities to refugees. Among the signatories is the International Judo Federation, which has been active for many years on the field to provide refugees with educational and sporting opportunities.
Recognising the unique unifying power of sport, the different organisations, from governments to National Olympic Committees, International Sports Federations, clubs, associations and civil society organisations, came together to renew and expand their commitment to building a better world for young refugees through sport.
Ahead of the first-ever Global Refugee Forum, which will take place in Geneva on 17 and 18 December, this unprecedented global initiative has made three important pledges, building on the work which each organisation has already done for refugees.
The pledges are as follows:
- To promote and ensure access for all refugees, without distinction of any kind, to safe and inclusive sporting facilities.
- To increase availability and access to organised sports and sport-based initiatives for refugee and hosting communities, actively considering age, gender, ability and other diversity needs.
- To promote and facilitate equal access to and the participation of refugees in sporting events and competitions at all levels.
The International Judo Federation started to develop specific programmes for Refugees many years ago. From Judo for Peace initiatives in Refugees Camps (Kilis, Meheba, Dzaleka, Za'atari) to tailor made activities in South Africa providing a better social environment to refugees already living in the country, through a dedicated IJF Refugee team participating in the World Judo Tour events, the IJF is a leading organisation in terms of results both in the educational and sports fields.
IOC President Thomas Bach said: "Sport is much more than a leisure activity. It is an opportunity to be included and protected – a chance to heal, develop and grow. The pledges that we are making today reaffirm the commitment from the sports movement and key partners to play their part in supporting refugees.”
Today, there are more than 70 million displaced people in the world and more than 50% are children. As it was once again underlined during the Peace and Sport forum, where the IJF is also present and taking place in Monaco these days, sports programmes can be used as a positive social development tool to improve cohesion and local inclusion, leading to better integration of refugees and other displaced people in their host communities.
“We wholeheartedly welcome these important commitments. They clearly demonstrate that the sporting world stands with refugees,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi. “This genuinely global and collective effort is crucial for promoting sports programmes to help young refugees build confidence, foster their physical and mental health, discover their potential and restore the prospect of a better future.”
The sports coalition is calling for more entities involved in sport to join the movement and support the three pledges.
The current list of signatories can be found here: CLICK HERE
As there are just days prior to the the first-ever Global Refugee Forum (GRF), which will be a global and historic opportunity to take stock and gather important new pledges for refugees as part of the Global Compact for Refugees, the Forum will focus on the themes of education, jobs, protection, energy and solutions, bringing together humanitarian and development approaches.
Following on from UNHCR’s #WithRefugees Campaign, which the IJF actively participated in, and which supported the adoption of the Global Compact on Refugees, the organization is launching a new public engagement campaign – titled, Everyone Counts - #EveryoneCounts.
Everyone Counts aims to reflect the main aims of the Global Compact; that every voice, every action, every story and every dream counts. UNHCR believes that we all have a role to play in finding solutions that will allow refugees to belong and thrive.
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