Václav Havel, Desmond Tutu, Wei Jingsheng and Members of European Parliament, etc.
call for Human Rights at Beijing Olympics
Open Letter / Appeal
July 31, 2008
Dear Olympic Games Participants,
The selection of Beijing for the organization of the 2008 Olympic Games was accompanied by the Chinese government's pledges of visible progress on their respect for human rights. We understood these as a condition whose fulfilment the International Olympic Committee would demand. That is how this year's Olympics could contribute to a greater openness and respect for international standards of human rights and liberties in the host country. If the words of the Olympic Charter, stating that it is a goal of Olympism to "place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity", are to be fulfilled, it is necessary for all Olympians to be able to learn about the real situation in China and to point out human rights violations freely whenever and wherever in line with their conscience. We call on the International Olympic Committee to make that possible.
An interpretation of the Olympic Charter according to which human rights would be a political topic not to be discussed in the Olympic venues is alien to us. Human rights are a universal and inalienable topic, enshrined in international human rights documents that China has also signed onto, transcending international as well as domestic politics, and all cultures, religions and civilizations. To speak of the conditions of human rights therefore cannot be in violation of the Olympic Charter. To speak of human rights is not politics; only authoritarian and totalitarian regimes try to make it so. To speak of human rights is a duty.
We are concerned that the Beijing Olympics might simply become a giant spectacle to distract the attention of the international public from the violations of human and civil rights in China and in other countries with the Chinese government's significant influence. Therefore, we see a dignified celebration of the Olympic ideals not only in sporting performances, but also in the opportunity to express one's civic attitudes. We call on all participants of the summer Olympic Games in Beijing to use this liberty to support those whose freedoms, even at the time of the Olympics, are denied by the Chinese government.
The Most Reverend Desmond Tutu
Edward McMillan-Scott, MEP
Jana Hybá¹ková, MEP
Baronness Emma Nicholson, MEP
Ana Maria Gomes, MEP
Berndt Posselt, MEP
Milan Horacek, MEP
Bart Staes, MEP
Helga Trüpel, MEP
Eva Lichtenberger, MEP
Cem Özdemir, MEP
Joseito76@aol.com received this information from Wilhelm H. Ludwig, ISHR Working Group Munich/Germany -
Saturday, 2 August 2008