Global perspective Human stories

UN Assembly calls on all States to observe Olympic Truce throughout Sochi Winter Games

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

UN Assembly calls on all States to observe Olympic Truce throughout Sochi Winter Games

The General Assembly today urged United Nations Member States to observe the Olympic Truce – the ancient Greek tradition calling for the cessation of hostilities before, during and after the Games – in the context of the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

The symbolic Truce will start one week before the XXII Olympic Winter Games, due to take place 7 to 23 February 2014, and will run until a week after the closing of the XI Paralympic Winter Games, to be held 7 to 16 March.

Adopting a consensus resolution, the 193-Member Assembly underlined the importance of cooperating to “collectively implement the values of the Olympic truce around the world,” and agreed to “cooperate with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the International Paralympic Committee in their efforts to use sport as a tool to promote peace, dialogue and reconciliation in areas of conflict during and beyond” the holding of the Games.

The resolution has itself become a tradition at the UN, being passed every two years preceding the holding of the Winter and Summer Games respectively.

Immediately after action in the Assembly, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the resolution and urged all countries to transform it into action by pressing for an end to all hostilities during the Olympic Games and by promoting the spirit of the Truce throughout the year.

The ancient Greek tradition of the ekecheiria, or Olympic Truce, was born in the eighth century BC “to encourage a peaceful environment and ensure safe passage, access and participation for athletes and relevant persons at the Games, thereby mobilizing the youth of the world to the cause of peace.”

Addressing the General Assembly today ahead action on the text, D.N. Chernyshenko, President of the Organizing Committee of the Sochi Games, said the upcoming events have become a “powerful catalyst for a burst of volunteer movement in Russia.”

Hundreds of thousands of volunteers have implemented more than 3,000 volunteer projects, helping vulnerable groups, and addressing essential social and environmental issues, he said.

One of the highlights of the Game preparations is the ceremonial relaying of the Olympic Flame from Olympia, Greece, to the site of an Olympic Games.

The latest relay, which started on 7 October, includes carriers from 160 nationalities and will be the longest national torch relay in the history of the Winter Olympics both in terms of duration - 123 days – and distance to cover – over 65,000 km, Mr. Chernyshenko said.

The torch has already visited the North Pole as part of the international research expedition and became a symbol of joint exploration of the Arctic by all 8 Arctic Powers.

Tomorrow, it will be launched into outer space onboard the International Space Station and carried for the first time during a spacewalk.

Also today, the President of the current General Assembly, John Ashe, met with Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to discuss topics related to the promotion of peace and understanding between peoples and nations, and the promotion of education through sport.