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Last Monday, 27 February, the president of the Rio 2016™ Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games participated in the panel discussion on Sport and Human Rights of the 19th. Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in the UN headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.
The topic of the presentation made by the president of Rio 2016™ at the panel discussion was “Transformation through sport”. As a panelist, Nuzman highlighted the importance of the city regeneration and social transformation generated by the Rio 2016™ which give Rio de Janeiro an unprecedented face lift. He also reminded that the social programmes implemented by the federal, state and local governments will leave important sporting and infrastructure legacies for the population.
“The Olympic Games legacy is already a reality of changes under way, not only a matter of future goals to be achieved. It is important to remember that it was the 2007 Pan American Games legacy that qualified us to host the 2016 Games”, Nuzman said.
During the presentation, Nuzman mentioned the major structural changes to Rio which will occur in transport and urban revitalisation with the implementation of Bus Rapid Transit systems and the refurbishment of the port region. He also singled out the project to depollute Guanabara Bay and the city’s lagoons. Furthermore, he stressed that the Rio 2016™ project is in line with the goals established in the city of Rio de Janeiro Master Plan and includes legacies particularly catered to youth.
With regard to security matters, the president of the Rio 2016™ reminded that Rio entered a new era with the successful Peacemaker Polic Units (UPPs) implemented in the favelas, an initiative of the state government which benefits approximately 300,000 people who used to live in high-risk conditions.
The project Minha casa, Minha vida was also analysed during Nuzman’s presentation. Through this project, between 2009 and 2011, over 8,000 households were successfully resettled due to the construction of the Bus Rapid Transit system. Nuzman explained that the city government prioritised a clear and respectful dialogue with the families before the areas needed by the government were vacated and that no resettlement was carried out without judicial authorisation.
At the end of the panel discussion, the Minister of Human Rights of Brazil, Maria do Rosario Nunes, said the Brazilian government was committed to promoting social inclusion through mega-sports events.
" The legacy of the Olympics and Paralympics are as important as the events themselves. For this reason, we want Games that are particularly successful from a Human Rights perspective”, the Minister added.
After the panel discussion, the president of Rio 2016™ inaugurated the photography exhibition “Transformation through sport”, with images of the infrastructure works associated with the Rio 2016™ Games and sport events organised by the Brazilian Olympic Games such as the School Olympic Games. At his speech at the opening ceremony, Ambassador Maria Nazareth Farani Azevedo stressed that the Olympic ideals and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights shared principles such as tolerance, solidarity and peaceful living, which were important to all humankind.
“These principles inspire us to affirm and respect the worth of the human being, to fight discrimination and to seek peace among all peoples. In times like these when there are so many conflicts in the world, it is an honour for Brazil to promote the United Nations through discussions on sport as a means to promote Human Rights”, the ambassador said.
Nuzman thanked the United Nations, in particular the Mission of Brazil to the UN in Geneva, for the opportunity to share images at such an important moment for sport in Brazil.