New Olympic rights body to weigh issues including transgender athletes


The International Olympic Committee on Saturday said it would set up a rights committee chaired by a prominent former UN commissioner to advise it on issues including transgender athletes.

However, the committee will not be looking at human rights situations in host countries, an issue that has gained growing attention in recent years.

Speaking in Tokyo after a meeting of the IOC’s executive board, president Thomas Bach said the committee would be a “key instrument to help the IOC to meet our human rights responsibilities with a more strategic approach than we could do so in the past”.

The panel will be chaired by former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Prince Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein and will include six to nine additional members to be named in 2019.

“One of the issues where we will ask already this advisory committee to help us… concerns the transgender policy of the IOC and the Olympic movement, where very complicated issues have to be addressed, where human rights play a central role,” Bach said.

There have been heated discussions in recent years about the inclusion of transgender athletes in the Olympics, and criticism of sporting authorities for basing eligibility on testosterone levels.

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