Iranian complaints about the logo of the 2012 Olympics:
Iran’s calls for IOC to respect Olympic Charter: when will Iran remove the beam from its eye?
Paris, 28 February 2011
After the Iranian protest against the London 2012 logo, the International Olympic Committee must commit to full participation of women in the Olympics, free from religious strictures
Iran has lodged a protest with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the logo of the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, claiming the logo is “racist”. We will set aside any discussion of the Iranian obsession with Israel, of which this absurd claim is the latest, and one of the more laughable, example, to focus on the Iranian use of the Olympic Charter to support their accusation.
As reported, Iran claims that the logo does not respect the Olympic Charter: "highlighting the values of Olympic [sic], which ban any sorts of partiality, political, religious and racial measures in this field, may have a leading role to hold London Games better [sic]."
While Iran is correct as to the principles of the Olympic Movement, Iran (and the Islamist countries it claims to represent) is itself in complete contradiction with the Olympic Charter when we consider its own behaviour in the Olympics. Islamist countries, and in particular Iran, are historically (and currently) the most likely to exclude women from an open and free practice of sport, and to impose restrictive garments during competition, on the basis of religious strictures.
It is on these grounds - neutrality of sport - that the “Atlanta Plus” Committee sent an open letter (attached) to Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee, dated 12 November 2010 and revealing "recent breaches of the Olympic Charter". In this letter, Iran is clearly designated as a country that systematically flouts article 51 of the Charter. Indeed, female athletes on the Iranian Olympic team are required to wear Islamic dress, covering the entire body, on the basis of religious tenets. This requirement was demonstrated last summer at the Youth Olympic Games, where the Iranian authorities required the young women competing on the Iranian football team to wear head coverings, in a clear violation (tolerated by FIFA and the IOC) of FIFA rules.
Let us recall the “Fundamental Principles of the Olympic Movement:
The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.
Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.
These principles underlie bylaw 51.3 of the Olympic Charter, which the Iranians themselves are so prompt to cite: ‘No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted on any Olympic sites, venues or other areas’.
Since the 1990s, the "Atlanta Plus" Committee (an offshoot of the Ligue du Droit International des Femmes), has applied pressure on the IOC to ensure that the Charter is implemented to protect the right of female athletes to compete on an equal footing with men, free from religious interference.
The place of women in the Olympics is at the heart of the work of the “Atlanta Plus” Committee, which launched its actions by pointing out that at the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, 35 delegations were completely free of female athletes. We note that despite progress, which we consider ourselves to be part of, there remained three countries without women in their delegations in Beijing in 2008, including Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
The "Atlanta Plus" Committee, which brings together a variety of organisations working for women’s rights, and in particular for women’s rights in sport, will be following up the letter to Mr Rogge with a broader appeal concerning seven types of breaches of the Olympic Charter. “Atlanta Plus” encourages all interested parties to write for more information on this appeal.
Annie Sugier, president (mobile: +33 6 38 39 42 92)
LDIF, "Atlanta Plus" Committee,
Member of the French Coordination for the European Women’s Lobby
Email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
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