Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, Global CEO of the Sport Integrity Global Alliance (SIGA), delivered a powerful address during the 21st session of the UN’s Intergovernmental Working Group on the Effective Implementation of the Durban Declaration.
Speaking on a high-level panel focused on “Sport and Racism” at the United Nations, Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros called for the Sports Industry to step up and lead by example.
“Look around you”, he asked the audience composed mainly of senior representatives from the UN Member States. “What do you see? Global health crisis, climate change, social unrest, political turmoil, human rights abuses, economic uncertainty and, now, war. People are losing hope, trust and faith in their leaders and institutions. In these dark times, Sport can and must exert its’ responsibilities to the fullest and be a catalyst for positive transformation. Sport must govern itself and operate under the highest integrity standards, free from corruption, racism and discrimination. To become a force for good in such a troubled world, there is no other way”.
Citing the cases of the young girl denied a medal in Ireland due to her skin colour and the racial abuses faced by many football stars, of which recently Vinicius Jr. from Real Madrid became a well-known example, the SIGA Global CEO pulled no punches. “These cases indelibly stain Sport and must be vehemently condemned! The recurrence of episodes like these and others, such as those we see in the stands of Sport stadiums, cannot be tolerated. They are an embarrassing reminder that whatever is being done to promote human rights and prevent racism and discrimination in Sport is clearly not working, and that more and better needs to be done.”
Highlighting the role of SIGA’s Permanent Committee on Gender, Race, Inclusion and Diversity (GRID) in this field, Macedo de Medeiros said that its members stand “shoulder by shoulder in the battle for human rights”. “I echo the views of the GRID Committee and the wider SIGA Community” – he added – “when I say that racism is still endemic. When I say that racism and discrimination continue to oppress human rights and dignity of minorities and indigenous human beings. There’s too much lip service! Quoting longtime SIGA supporter and chair of the SIGA GRID Committee, Brian Lewis: those who feel it and have experienced it, know it – this is not an academic and theoretical issue or conversation. It’s emotional. The historical, ancestral, and generational pain, trauma and heartbrokenness are real.”
Concluding his intervention, Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros shared various initiatives SIGA is currently developing in the field of Human Rights and Anti-Racism, Diversity and Inclusion, and called for the adoption and implementation of SIGA’s Universal Standards on Sport Integrity by the global sport movement.
A final word was reserved to UNOHR, to thank them for the invitation and for leading the way in this field, as well as to all personalities who shared the stage with SIGA, including Nada Al-Nashif (Deputy High Commissioner, OHCHR), Fatma Samoura (Secretary General, FIFA), Tracie L. Keesee (Independent Expert, EMLER), Ana Luiza Thompson-Flores (Director, UNESCO), Sarah Gregorius (Director, Football Players Worldwide), Donna Fraser (Director, Professional Cricketers’ Association Worldwide) and Gerd Dembowski (Senior Diversity & Inclusion Manager, FIFA).
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SIGA is the world’s leading organisation for Sport Integrity. We are creating a whole new landscape for the sports industry by delivering independent global rating and certification for world Sport to ensure it is governed and operates under the highest integrity standards: The SIGA Universal Standards.
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