Sports – an important means of empowering people and bridging divides within societies – Ambassador Azeez tells the Human Rights Council
Posted on March 13th, 2019

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nation Geneva

Addressing the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) as the Chair of the 2018 HRC Social Forum, today, Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva Ambassador A.L.A. Azeez stressed that the Forum provided a platform for a vibrant multi-stakeholder dialogue. He said it brought together governments, intergovernmental organisations, sports bodies, academia and the private sector, to address how best sports could be promoted as a means of empowering people while bridging divides among different segments of society.

Sports, like diplomacy, has the potential to bring all actors beyond the immediate theatre of competition. They both encourage camaraderie and solidarity, to achieve shared objectives’ stated Ambassador Azeez, stressing further ‘win-win’ in sports, as in diplomacy, is to remain engaged, to build and maintain momentum and to reach the finish-line of pursuit”. He added this pursuit should continue unfazed in the face of expressions of hate by any fringe elements and misinformation targeting professionals in both disciplines”.

The report of the 2018 HRC Social Forum on ‘Sports and Human Rights’ chaired by Sri Lanka placed emphasis on bilateral and other forms of cooperation as well as inclusive approach to physical education, physical activities and sports, based on human rights values. It further stated that sports and new technologies should embed human rights by design.

Decision-making bodies in sports and other critical areas of human activity should ensure diversity, including by promoting gender equality,” Ambassador Azeez added.

Speaking in its national capacity at the General Debate, following the presentation of the Report on Social Forum by Ambassador Azeez, the delegation of Sri Lanka highlighted the power of sports and that of sports idols, in creating attitudinal changes not only among fans but within the society as a whole.  Ms. Shashika Somaratne, Minister Counsellor of the Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka made these remarks under Agenda Item 5 on ‘Human Rights Bodies and Mechanisms’.

Referring to the contribution of sports in empowering women and girls as well as differently abled, Sri Lanka called upon the stakeholders to take every effort to eradicate discrimination in the field of sports. It should be an avenue to achieve the highest attainable mental and physical health for all”, it was stressed. Speaking further, Minister Counsellor Somaratne also highlighted the potential of sports in national and international efforts to eliminate the menace of drugs.

Concluding the intervention, the delegation of Sri Lanka underlined the importance of   endeavours towards the realization of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development being underpinned by the spirit and ideals of sports.

–          Statement by the Chair-Rapporteur of the 2018 Social Forum

–          Statement by Sri Lanka at the General Debate under Agenda Item 5

Permanent Mission of Sri Lanka to the United Nation


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