Olympic Truce during Sochi Olympics

The Resolution on the Observance of Olympic Truce during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi was adopted unanimously on Wednesday, 6 November, by the United Nations General Assembly.

The General Assembly Resolution calls on the member states to comply – based on the UN Charter – with the Olympic Truce for the period starting 7 days before opening of the 22nd Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, until 7 days after the end of the Games. The Games will take place from 7 to 23 February 2014.

Addressing the General Assembly, the International Olympic Committee’s President, Dr. Thomas Bach, noted that “the role of sport is always to build bridges, never walls. Sport stands for dialogue and understanding, which transcend all differences. Sport, and the Olympic Movement especially, understands the global diversity of cultures, societies and life designs as a source of richness. We never accuse or exclude anyone.”

“President Bach continued, “Peace-building is a long process. Sport wants to be part of this process. However, we are aware of our own limits – but we want to use the power of our values and symbols to promote the positive, peaceful development of global society. These symbols, and especially the peaceful competition at the Olympic Games, should inspire all the people. They should show that rivalries and disputes can be resolved peacefully. They should show that people can transcend all boundaries by agreeing on universal rules to govern human competition and resolve conflicts. For this reason, the Olympic Truce is of particular significance. We set great store by this common endeavour, which is such a splendid example of how, in partnership, politics and sport can complement each other.”

Dr. Constantinos Filis, Director of the International Olympic Truce Centre, made the following statement after the adoption of the Resolution: “I would like to congratulate the Russian Federation, as well as all 121 co-sponsors, on effectively promoting the Resolution for the Olympic Truce. I would particularly like to thank the International Olympic Committee’s President, Dr. Thomas Bach, who paid his first and therefore historic visit to the UN on the occasion of the adoption of the Olympic Truce Resolution. This is a clear indication of the importance he attaches to Olympic Truce and his personal dedication to fulfilling our objectives. The Olympic Movement advocates all those ideals that link the Olympic Games with society. We aspire to create a conscience of non-violence, a mentality where people will not fight other people. But we are part of a sports movement, not a political organisation, and therefore we understand our limitations. At the same time, we realise the prospects and the power of sports. Today’s adoption of the Resolution underlines the need to extend our dialogue both thematically and in terms of frequency. Not only among us, but also with societies and especially the young generation. As a universal value, Olympic Truce can reach the hearts of people. The real challenge is to win over their minds.”

On the occasion of the adoption of the Resolution, the Greek Permanent Mission to the UN, in cooperation with the Russian Permanent Mission and the International Olympic Truce Centre, hosted an event at UN Headquarters on the “Promotion of Peace through Olympic Truce”, garnering a number of positive comments on Greece’s contribution to the Olympic Ideals.

The event was addressed by the UN Special Adviser on Sport for Development and Peace, Mr Wilfried Lemke, the IOC member Mario Pescante, the President of the Sochi 2014 Organizing Committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko and the Greek Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Michael Spinellis. The event was also addressed by the Director of the International Olympic Truce Centre, Dr. Constantinos Filis, who also acted as coordinator.

The event was also addressed briefly by IOC President Dr. Thomas Bach who was welcomed by the audience with a great applause. Representatives from Britain, South Korea, China, Italy and Cyprus also addressed the audience.

All the speakers stressed the need to honor the Olympic Truce congratulating the Permanent Missions of Greece and Russia on the hosting of the event.