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FIFA to further develop its human rights approach with international expert John Ruggie

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As part of its ongoing process of integrating respect for human rights in its work, FIFA has asked international human rights expert and Harvard Kennedy School Professor John Ruggie, to provide recommendations for further embedding the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) into the FIFA’s policies and practices. Professor Ruggie will publish these proposals by the end of March 2016 in the form of an independent report.

FIFA asked Professor Ruggie to undertake this work following the decision taken by the FIFA Executive Committee in July 2015 to adhere to the UNGPs, which were developed by Ruggie in his role as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Business and Human Rights. They were endorsed unanimously by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011.

FIFA’s new human rights policy will cover all areas of its activities and events including the FIFA World Cup™, embedding the United Nations-endorsed values into the heart of the football governing body’s day-to-day operations.

“FIFA’s global reach means that this initiative has the potential to make a difference where it matters most: in the daily lives of people,” said Ruggie. “As with any such process, I fully recognise that there will be challenges and complex change takes time. However, this has the potential to set the bar for other global sports organisations, and place respect for human rights front and centre for a broad range of entities involved in global sporting events.”

“This collaboration is another important step in our ongoing reform process. I am proud to see that FIFA is taking the lead among international sports organisations on such an important topic. Football and FIFA have an important role to play in this field; respect for human rights has to be at the core of our organisation and our sport,” said Acting FIFA President Issa Hayatou.

This process builds upon previous work initiated by FIFA to implement and integrate human rights and labour standards in its activities, including regarding the requirements for the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ bidding process. Regarding the human rights components for the future bidding requirements, FIFA has already sought valuable technical support from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Building on FIFA’s commitment to embed human rights into its overall framework, the Executive Committee recommended at its last meeting that the Congress approve the implementation of a new article of the FIFA Statutes that commits FIFA to respecting all internationally recognised human rights and to promoting the respect of these rights in the context of FIFA’s activities.

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