Sport & Human Rights

Sport can be used to advance the human rights of everyone, and provides an opportunity to promote a set of universal values amongst everyone involved in sport – from participants and fans to workers, local communities and governments.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has been working in the field of sport and human rights since 2016, building partnerships with sporting bodies and promoting the importance of embedding human rights in sport. During its tenure as chair of the Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (2015-18), the Commission developed a draft declaration on sport and human rights which set out national human rights institutions’ commitments to protecting and promoting human rights through sport. This became the London Declaration on Sport and Human Rights, and was adopted by members of the Commonwealth Forum in London in 2018.

The Commission continues work to forge partnerships between national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and their national sporting bodies, developing a workshop for NHRIs and their Commonwealth Games Associations alongside the Commonwealth Games Federations’ annual meeting in September 2019. This came as a result of the Commission’s long-standing partnership with the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council and the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, which was established in 2018.

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Northern Ireland Sport & Human Rights Forum

The Northern Ireland Sport & Human Rights Forum was established in May 2019, coinciding with the launch of the Declaration on Sport and Human Rights – drafted by the Commission and the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council.

At the time of the Forum’s launch, five major sports bodies in Northern Ireland had already adopted the Declaration: the Belfast Giants, Irish Football Association, Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council, Ulster GAA, and Ulster Rugby.

The Forum has been established as a multi-stakeholder platform to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and good practice on sport and human rights issues. Its first meeting took place in June 2019, and members are currently developing a work plan for 2020/21. The Forum will meet three times annually.

During this unprecedented time, the Commission is using social media to promote examples of good practice by Forum members. If your organisation has a case study you would like us to share, please contact: zara.porter@nihrc.org

The next meeting of the Northern Ireland Sport & Human Rights Forum will take place on Wednesday 4th November, from 1-2:30pm via Zoom.

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If you would like further information about the Forum, or wish to attend its upcoming meeting, please contact Zara Porter at: zara.porter@nihrc.org