We’re backing human rights declaration

Last updated: 11 Feb 2020 Topics: Safeguarding children Working with our partners Type: News article

We have pledged our support to the Declaration on Sport and Human Rights, joining major sports bodies from Northern Ireland and beyond.

The declaration acknowledges sport’s potential to advance the human rights of everyone involved and sets out a number of commitments. 

Drafted by the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council and the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, the declaration is a legacy from Belfast's selection as host of the 2021 Commonwealth Youth Games.

Despite the loss of the games, the local sporting community was determined to deliver a programme which would see rights promoted and protected within the sector.

The Irish Football Association, Ulster GAA, Ulster Rugby and Belfast Giants owner Odyssey Trust were among the first to sign up to the declaration when it launched in April 2019. Since then, it has gathered signatures across Europe and Africa from a wide range of sporting bodies.

To support the content of the declaration, a Northern Ireland Sport and Human Rights Forum was developed to provide a safe space for sports and rights bodies to share experiences and good practice.

Conal Heatley, chair of the Northern Ireland Sport and Human Rights Forum, said:

"We’re delighted to have the Child Protection in Sport Unit involved. Their support endorses the work that forum members are doing to both protect and promote rights in general, but especially the rights of young people.

"We are endeavouring to bring as much knowledge to the table as possible so the topic can be approached in a positive and constructive manner. The sharing of experiences is central to the work of the forum."

The declaration is intended to act as a corporate and individual conscience so that decision making processes, at all levels, will give consideration to the rights of others. Based on the original 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, this document adapts many of those principles for ease of application with the sporting environment.

Pictured: CPSU consultant Paul Stephenson (left) being presented with a framed declaration by John Allen, the secretary general of Commonwealth Games NI. 

Further information

Find out more or sign up to the Declaration on Sport and Human Rights.