Sport is considered to be a pillar for love and harmony among all. It is a fundamental right and consequently a means for fostering peace and sustainable development.
Sport plays a critical role in achieving sustainable development goals and advancing social progress through various initiatives such as the Taekwondo Humanitarian Foundation that promotes martial arts in refugee camps with the aim of raising awareness on the mental and physical struggles of young refugees. (Goal 3: Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages). Furthermore, sport in its most basic embodiment encourages gender equality through balanced participation and indirect challenging of societal appointed gender roles. (Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls).
Hence, in recognition of this important role, the UN General assembly allocated a specific day, namely “International Day of Sport for Development and Peace” , in Resolution 67/269 of the 23rd of August 2013.
Regular participation in physical activities contributes to physical and psychological well-being of individuals, resulting in various social and health benefits. Moreover, the World Health Organization highlights that physical exercise can stimulate positive mental health and cognitive development. Similarly, regular exercise has been linked to reducing the negative effects of depression and anxiety and ensuring improvements in self-esteem.
An annual observance that takes place on the 6th of April, sports is seen as a catalyst and enabler for the promotion of peace and development objectives, which is particularly evident in its contribution to the promotion of tolerance and respect, as well as the empowerment of women and young individuals.
The Geneva Institute for Human Rights views sport as a powerful and positive tool to promote human rights values and principles. The devastating impacts of COVID-19 have brought to light the grave importance of sports and unity in regards to global recovery efforts and navigating the challenges of the ongoing pandemic. Whether through the social bond created or by the economic benefits through the creation of jobs and generation of business activity, sport positively contributes to health, social and economic recovery.
Within that context, the Geneva Institute for Human Rights appeals to all States to maximize on the possible contribution of sport for a more inclusive, kind and human centered society, especially in regards to national frameworks to ensure the effective implementation of the sustainable development goals.