Olympic Organizing Committee’s Double Standards in Dealing with Countries

Olympic Organizing Committee’s Double Standards in Dealing with Countries

TEHRAN (Tasnim) - The Olympic Organizing Committee has announced that Russia is barred from the 2024 Olympic Games due to its military aggression in Ukraine.

Behnam Khosravi, Second Secretary of Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Lebanon, in an article sent to the Tasnim News Agency lambasted double standard behavior shown by the International Olympic Committee, backed by Western governments, in dealing with countries.

The full text of the article is as follows:

The Olympic Organizing Committee’s Double Standards in Dealing with the Countries

The Olympic Organizing Committee has announced that Russia is barred from the 2024 Olympic Games due to its military aggression in Ukraine. Additionally, Belarusian athletes face restrictions linked to their country’s complicity with Russia. However, individuals from these countries may still compete independently.

This decision elicited angry reactions from Russians and Belarusians inquiring why Israeli athletes have not been excluded while their army has killed more than thirty thousand innocent people in Gaza.

The committee’s stance has been perceived by some as a politicization of the Olympic Games, which traditionally uphold values of neutrality and fair play. This development raises concerns about the potential for political disputes to influence international sporting events.

The Olympic Committee’s controversial decision has sparked debate over the impact on athletes uninvolved in political actions. Such measures are seen by some as collective punishment, potentially infringing on individual rights without direct involvement in the cited violations. International law generally prohibits collective punishment, safeguarding individuals from penalties based on association alone, such as nationality or other affiliations. Recognizing the controversy, the Committee has permitted athletes from these nations to compete in a neutral capacity, without national symbols. To date, six Russian and five Belarusian athletes have been approved to participate in this manner, reflecting an effort to balance legal principles with the Olympic spirit of inclusivity.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has referenced United Nations General Assembly Resolution No. A/res/78/10, commonly referred to as the Olympic Charter, to support the exclusion of Russia and Belarus from the Olympic Games. The IOC contends that both nations have breached the resolution and the Charter’s principles by engaging in warfare during the Olympics, thereby harming Ukrainian athletes, sports infrastructure, and regional sports federations. It is important to note, however, that this resolution is advisory rather than mandatory, expressing the General Assembly’s endorsement of the IOC’s mission to foster peace and mutual understanding through sports while maintaining the apolitical and autonomous nature of sports institutions.

Considering the resolution’s emphasis on peace and mutual understanding, questions arise regarding Israel’s atrocities in Gaza. Israel’s actions, characterized by systematic violence, infrastructure destruction, forced starvation, and displacement, contravene Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and Article 4 of the Second Additional Protocol. Such actions could potentially be subject to investigation by the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court for war crimes and genocide.

Furthermore, Israel’s conduct stands in stark opposition to the principles outlined in Article 1 of the United Nations Charter, which mandates the maintenance of international peace and security. Such actions by Israel risk plunging the Middle East into a conflict of significant scale. If we uphold the International Olympic Committee’s rationale for barring Russia and Belarus from the Olympics due to their aggressive actions that threaten global peace, then, by the same logic, Israel should also face exclusion from the Games for similar transgressions.

In addition to the violations of the Olympic Charter, Israel's actions contradict the Charter’s spirit. Notably, the Palestinian Football Association has documented instances where athletes and sports infrastructure in Gaza were targeted. Among the reported casualties were Hani al-Masdar, the Palestinian Olympic football coach, and Ahmed Daraghmeh, a notable soccer player from the West Bank. Furthermore, Yarmouk Stadium, a significant sports venue in Gaza, was reportedly repurposed as a detention center by the Israeli army.

Despite these appalling atrocities, the National Olympic Committee’s response has been minimal, maintaining a stance that sports should remain apolitical. The situation raises questions about the consistency of the International Olympic Committee’s enforcement of its Charter, particularly when compared to actions taken against Russia and Belarus. The debate continues over whether double standards are at play when it comes to Israel, affected by geopolitical considerations and Western countries' influence.

Ultimately, the apparent double standards of the International Olympic Committee, backed by Western governments, may lead to the exclusion of Israel’s situation from scrutiny. This oversight could occur despite violations of both a UN resolution and the Olympic Charter. Moreover, the tragic loss of Palestinian athletes, the devastation of infrastructure, and the initiation of conflict—resulting in severe collective punishment—might not receive the attention it warrants from international legal bodies and Western media outlets, potentially leading to a boycott.


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