Refugees to have their own team at Rio under the Olympic flag
Leading athletes who are also refugees and therefore technically unable to represent any country will be able to compete in the Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. Thomas Bach, the chair of the International Olympic Committee, announced the development at Monday's session of the UN General Assembly.
The resolution was supported by 180 of 193 UN member states and also calls for the holding of an Olympic armistice from 29 July 2016, the week before the games begin, until 25 September, the week after the Paralympics end. "The Olympic Games are a period when values such as peace, solidarity and tolerance are supposed to realized in practice," Bach said.
"At an Olympic village, solidarity and tolerance can be seen in their purest form. Athletes from all 206 member states of the International Olympic Committee live together in harmony without any signs of discrimination," Bach said at a time of refugee crisis and wars in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.
"Currently none of these athletes would have had a chance to compete at the Olympic Games even if they were to qualify. Because they have refugee status they do not have a motherland or a national Olympic Committee to represent them," Bach said. "These refugee athletes will compete in the games under the Olympic anthem and flag. They will find a homeland together with the other 11 000 athletes from 206 member countries at the Olympic village."
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