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Tibetan groups in Switzerland file complaint against the IOC

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File photo (Phayul)

By Choekyi Lhamo

DHARAMSHALA, July 26: Four Tibetan organizations based in Switzerland on Friday filed a complaint against the International Olympic Committee (IOC) with National Contact Point in Bern over violating OECD Guidelines by awarding China to be the host of Beijing Winter Olympics scheduled in February next year. The OECD Guidelines for multinational enterprises are legally non-binding recommendations on responsible business conduct addressed by the various governments.

The four Tibet groups include the Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Association, Tibetan Youth Association in Europe, Tibetan community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, and Tibetan Women’s Organization in Swiss. The guidelines obligate multinational enterprises like the IOC to respect globally recognized human rights, as the groups said were being violated under the Chinese government.

“The IOC may be excused as a mistake for awarding the 2008 Olympics to China, but awarding the 2022 Winter Olympics to China is nothing less than a co-conspiracy to commit crimes against humanity. That is why we feel it is our duty, through this complaint, to remind the IOC of its elementary responsibility to uphold these very human values that are now being flouted across the board by the award to Beijing,” stated Thomas Büchli, President of the Swiss-Tibetan Friendship Association, the lead complainant in this case.

The complaint demanded that the international committee carry out its due diligence in ensuring no human rights violation takes place in the host country. The document was issued on the day of the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics 2021, as the committee continued to ignore all calls from rights-based organizations, including Human Rights Watch, for their concerns regarding the widespread violations in Tibet, East Turkestan, Southern Mongolia, and Hong Kong among others.

Special Appointee for Human Rights from Tibet Bureau Geneva, Thinlay Chukki remarked on the importance of the complaint, “It is of paramount importance that the [IOC] carries out human rights due diligence for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to ensure that detainees of internment camps are not abused for organising Olympics. The human values which the Games represent should be implemented in practice and not just remain restricted to papers.”

 The complainants further accused the sponsors, partners and suppliers of the Winter Games for being directly or indirectly complicit in alleged forced labor or internment camps, which flouts the OECD Guidelines for multinational enterprises.

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