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18 Oct, 2011

UN Calls For Global Six-Week Truce During 2012 Olympic Games

Oct 17 2011 — The United Nations today called for the traditional age-old truce to be observed during next summer’s Olympics in London, urging warring parties around the world to lay down their arms as the Games’ ancient Greek founders did some 2,700 years ago.

In a resolution co-sponsored by all 193 Member States, the General Assembly exhorted all nations to observe the Olympic Truce individually and collectively for six weeks, starting with the opening of the XXX Olympiad on 27 July and ending with the closing of the XIV Paralympic Games for disabled athletes on 9 September.

It called on Member States “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 Olympic and Paralympic Games period.”

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

“The fact that the resolution was co-sponsored by all 193 UN Member States shows how much they support the idea of mobilizing the unique potential of sport to advance development and peace objectives, thus providing all actors – including the UN, governments, NGOs (non-government organizations), sports federations – with an ever stronger basis for continuing to leverage that power and to strengthen their collaboration.” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Adviser on Sport for Development Wilfried Lemke said.

Lord Sebastian Coe, double Olympic gold medallist and chair of the London 2012 Organizing Committee, introduced the resolution on behalf of the United Kingdom. “It would be folly to suggest that sport provides a complete answer, a panacea for all our social ills,” he said. “But it can and does help to mend broken communities, rebuild trust, rediscover self-respect, and foster the values at the core of our common humanity.”

In conjunction with the resolution’s adoption, Mr. Ban met today in Geneva with Lord Michael Bates of Langbaurgh, a UK parliamentarian who has walked over 3,000 miles through 17 countries from Mount Olympus in Greece to London to raise awareness of the truce and advocate for serious and meaningful consideration of its core concept.

Mr. Ban praised Lord Bates’ initiative, calling it a valuable contribution to implementing the truce concept and values, and to leading by example in showing that passionate and committed individuals can make a valuable contribution to world peace.