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

Speeches and statements

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

9 December 2019

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.

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. FC Barcelona Foundation
  22. Fédération Internationale de Teqball
  23. Fight for Peace
  24. FLAG21
  25. Football Association of Ireland (FAI)
  26. Football United
  27. Fundacja dla Wolności
  28. Foundation for Sport,  Development and Peace
  29. Game
  30. Generation for Peace
  31. Happy Foot
  32. Hasimta (Alley) athletics
  33. Health Development Consultancy Services
  34. Hellenic Paralympic Committee
  35. International Federation of Sport Climbing
  36. International Floorball Federation
  37. International Judo Federation
  38. International Paralympic Committee
  39. International Surfing Association
  40. International Sport and Culture Association
  41. International Table Tennis Federation
  42. International Table Tennis Foundation
  43. Japan
  44. Jordan Olympic Committee
  45. KLABU Foundation
  46. L.A.C.E.S.
  47. La Fondation Terre des hommes
  48. Liechtenstein Olympic Committee
  49. Nederlands Olympisch Comité * Nederlandse Sport Federatie
  50. New Zealand Olympic Committee Inc.
  51. Norwegian Olympic and Paralympic Committee and Confederation of Sports
  52. Olympic Refuge Foundation
  53. Palestine: Sports for Life
  54. Papua New Guinea Olympic Committee
  55. Paris 2024
  56. Peace and Sport
  57. PLAY International
  58. PlayOnside
  59. Reclaim Childhood
  60. Right to Play
  61. Royal Belgian Football Association
  62. Scottish Football Association
  63. Skateistan
  64. Spartans Community Football Academy
  65. Special Olympics
  66. Sport Against Racism Ireland
  67. Sport Ireland
  68. SRC Harare, Penyai Stars Trust
  69. Swiss Academy for Development
  70. Switzerland
  71. Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation
  72. Tambai Zimbabwe
  73. Tam Tam Basketball
  74. Turkish Olympic Committee
  75. Uganda Olympic Committee
  76. Unione Italiana Sport Per Tutti (UISP APS)
  77. United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee
  78. United World Wrestling
  79. Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation
  80. Ville de Paris
  81. Women Win
  82. World Association of Kickboxing Organizations
  83. World Athletics
  84. World Baseball Softball Confederation
  85. World Karate Federation
  86. World Taekwondo
  87. Youth Sport Uganda