Ahead of the opening of the FIFA Football World Cup in Russia, the European Parliament (EP) Thursday expressed concern over the human rights situation in Russia.
“We hold sports to be a value that brings people and nations together. The World Cup is a celebration for mankind and an occasion to reaffirm our ideals for peace, freedom and international cooperation,” the EP’s Foreign Affairs Committee Chair, David McAllister, Human Rights Subcommittee Chair, Pier Antonio Panzeri, and the Chair of the Delegation to the EU-Russia Parliamentary Cooperation Committee, Othmar Karas said in a joint statement.
“We affirm that the protection of human rights comes before any other concern. We note that Russia has consistently displayed a poor human rights record, including in the preparation of the World Cup that starts today. This includes severe limitations to press freedom, jailing of journalists and political adversaries, intimidation of human rights defenders and other instances of breaches of human rights that should not be tolerated,” noted the statement. “We call for large sporting events to become an occasion for reflection and change. We call on the international bodies governing the games to enforce the human rights they commit to in their statutes when awarding and preparing the organization of large sporting events and to increase transparency and strengthen cooperation with independent media and civil society,
Source: Kuwait News Agency