A Sports Coalition joins UNHCR and the International Olympic Committee to help young refugees discover their potential through sports

Jordan. High Commissioner spends World Refugee Day in Jordan

Twelve-year-old Syrian, Zeinab, from Deir ez-Zor, seen here at the Azraq Taekwondo Academy in Jordan, is one of the many Syrian refugees visited by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi.  © UNHCR/Diego Ibarra Sánchez

Sport has a unique unifying power. It can bridge divides and make borders disappear. It can transcend ethnicity, race, gender, nationality, language and creed. Whether inspiring us to support individual athletes or bringing us together to create teams or on our own, sport can contribute to a more peaceful and harmonious world.   These qualities find further expression in the ideals of the Olympic movement: friendship, solidarity, mutual understanding, respect, and fair play. 

It is in this spirit today that we have come together to renew and expand our commitment to building a better world for every young person, through sport. There are already many initiatives providing organised sport and recreation for young refugees and their host community peers around the world. But there are not enough. 

The Global Compact on Refugees, the international framework for strengthened cooperation and solidarity with refugees and affected host countries, specifically recognizes the contribution of sport and sporting entities in the protection and well-being of refugees and the internally displaced. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) leading a Sports Coalition pledge to provide sporting opportunities to young refugees ahead of the first-ever Global Refugee Forum in Geneva on 17 and 18 December, 2019.

The three pledges are:

  • To promote and ensure access for all refugees, without distinction of any kind, to safe and inclusive sporting facilities.
  • To increase availability and access to organized sports and sport-based initiatives for refugee and hosting communities, actively considering age, gender, ability and other diversity needs.
  • To promote and facilitate equal access to and participation of refugees in sporting events and competitions at all levels.

From grassroots clubs and civil society organisations, to governments, national and international sporting federations, we are committed to working with the global humanitarian community to play our part in making the pledges of the Global Compact on Refugees a reality, so that displaced children, youth and their communities can have the access to sport, as participants or supporters, that they need and deserve, improving social cohesion, social inclusion and psycho social wellbeing and ultimately improve their quality of life.

List of signatories

  1. AC Milan Foundation
  2. Alley Runners club
  3. AS Roma
  4. Agitos Foundation
  5. Association Football Development Programme, Global
  6. Badminton World Federation
  7. Bangladesh Football Federation
  8. Beyond Hoops Africa
  9. Beyond Sport
  10. Black Pearls Academy, Brazil
  11. Canadian Olympic Committee
  12. Coaches Across Continents
  13. Comité National Olympique et Sportif Français
  14. Comité Olímpico de Portugal
  15. Comité Olímpico Mexicano
  16. Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA)
  17. Cricket Without Boundaries
  18. Deutscher Olympischer Sportbund (DOSB)
  19. El Halev
  20. English Football Association
  21. Fédération Internationale de Teqball
  22. Fight for Peace
  23. FLAG21
  24. Football Association of Ireland (FAI)
  25. Football United
  26. Fundacja dla Wolności
  27. Foundation for Sport,  Development and Peace
  28. Game
  29. Generation for Peace
  30. Happy Foot
  31. Hasimta (Alley) athletics
  32. Health Development Consultancy Services
  33. Hellenic Paralympic Committee
  34. International Federation of Sport Climbing
  35. International Floorball Federation
  36. International Judo Federation
  37. International Paralympic Committee
  38. International Surfing Association
  39. International Sport and Culture Association
  40. International Table Tennis Federation
  41. International Table Tennis Foundation
  42. Japan
  43. Jordan Olympic Committee
  44. KLABU Foundation
  45. L.A.C.E.S.
  46. La Fondation Terre des hommes
  47. Liechtenstein Olympic Committee
  48. Nederlands Olympisch Comité * Nederlandse Sport Federatie
  49. New Zealand Olympic Committee Inc.
  50. Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports
  51. Olympic Refuge Foundation
  52. Palestine: Sports for Life
  53. Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee
  54. Paris 2024
  55. Peace and Sport
  56. PLAY International
  57. PlayOnside
  58. Reclaim Childhood
  59. Right to Play
  60. Royal Belgian Football Association
  61. Scottish Football Association
  62. Skateistan
  63. Spartans Community Football Academy
  64. Special Olympics
  65. Sport Against Racism Ireland
  66. Sport Ireland
  67. SRC Harare, Penyai Stars Trust
  68. Swiss Academy for Development
  69. Switzerland
  70. Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation
  71. Tambai Zimbabwe
  72. Tam Tam Basketball
  73. Turkish Olympic Committee
  74. Uganda Olympic Committee
  75. Unione Italiana Sport Per Tutti (UISP APS)
  76. United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee
  77. United World Wrestling
  78. Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation
  79. Ville de Paris
  80. Women Win
  81. World Association of Kickboxing Organizations
  82. World Athletics
  83. World Baseball Softball Confederation
  84. World Karate Federation
  85. World Taekwondo
  86. Youth Sport Uganda