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Abstract

This note argues that major governing bodies of international sport should and can assume a greater role in the field of human rights by pursuing enhanced status as an actor under international law, facilitating a treaty between nation states with the cooperation of UNESCO, or some combination of both. The note focuses on the IOC and FIFA—the two largest and arguably most sophisticated governing organizations in international sport. However, the note also carries implications for smaller organizations such as the Commonwealth Games Family (CGF) and the Pan American Sports Organization (PASO). Furthermore, the note only addresses issues that fit neatly within the category of human rights. Part II explores the intersection of human rights and international sport in greater detail. Part III discusses the duty of the governing bodies of international sport to take a more proactive role in ensuring the recognition of human rights. Part IV discusses the ability of the IOC and FIFA to play such a role. Part V discusses various avenues under international law that international sporting organizations may pursue to gain the status or international cooperation necessary to mount a more vigorous defense of human rights in international sport. These options include revising the charters of existing organizations in an effort to obtain greater status under international law, the facilitation of a multilateral treaty between states with an observational role for the major governing bodies of international sport, facilitation of a treaty providing an enforcement role for the United Nations or its constituent organizations, or a combination approach that attempts to secure enhanced status for existing organizations in some matters while addressing others via treaty. Part VI briefly concludes the note.

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