International sporting events and human rights

A handbook for implementation in Austria

On 5 July 2021, the Federal Ministry of Arts, Culture, Public Service and Sport (BMKÖS) presented a handbook on the protection and respect of human rights at international sporting events in Austria. The handbook was prepared by the fairplay initiative at VIDC.

Sport is a powerful global driver and can contribute to the breakthrough of human rights through the establishment of social and international contacts. On the other hand, the darker side of sport also entails the danger of ignoring or even violating human rights. The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is a cautionary example of this even before it begins.

On behalf of the BMKÖS, the fairplay initiative developed a handbook that will support Austrian sport in organising sporting events in a way that respects and strengthens human rights.

The handbook is aimed at the following Austrian stakeholders: sports federations, organising committees of sports events with an international dimension (including cities, municipalities, provinces) as well as companies, sponsors and the media.

The aim of the handbook is,

  • to encourage federations to organise their sporting events in the spirit of human rights,
  • To provide practical guidance and support for implementation,
  • as well as to raise awareness of human rights in general.

The handbook is divided into:

  • Potentials & Current Developments (Chapters 1 & 2)
  • International Standards & National Relevance (Chapters 3 & 4)
  • Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (giving framework - chapter 5)
  • Implementation in Austria & Contacts (Core of the Handbook - Chapters 6 & 7)

The core of the Handbook is structured according to the following four pillars of implementation:

--> Pillar 1: Public commitment to human rights, develop a human rights strategy and embed it in the organisational structure.
--> Pillar 2: Draw up a risk analysis and take preventive measures
--> Pillar 3: Cooperation with stakeholders and access to remedies
--> Pillar 4: Ongoing monitoring, communication internally and externally, knowledge preparation

In the handbook, individual human rights that are particularly relevant in the context of sporting events are dealt with in more detail:

  • Labour rights
  • Children's rights
  • Human rights in the supply chain
  • Health
  • Security
  • Freedoms
  • Non-discrimination
  • Gender equality and women's rights
  • Rights of persons with disabilities
  • Sustainabilit

For each of these ten points, the handbook describes the following:

  1. How the respective human rights are endangered by sporting events & can be protected.
  2. Where the respective human rights can be found in international law and Austrian law
  3. Which bodies in AUT can support the implementation
  4. What international and national good practice examples exist

Input on the contents was provided by several bodies. Special thanks go to - in alphabetical order - the Chamber of Labour, Austrian Standards International, Bundesbeschaffung GmbH (BBG), Bundes-Sport GmbH, BMKÖS, Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) and the Centre for Sport and Human Rights (IHRB). the Centre for Sport and Human Rights (CSHR), the Ombud for Equal Treatment, the Global Compact Network Austria, the International Fistball Federation (IFA), the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights, the Austrian Football Association (ÖFB), the Austrian National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines (öNKP), Südwind, Transparency International Germany, the Federal Environment Agency, UNICEF Great Britain, the Ombudsman Board and the associations of the Working Group on Sport and Human Rights.