Human rights body appeals to UN over Paralympics ban on ‘innocent’ Russians

The group called the decision by Paralympics chiefs to ban Russian competitors a 'severe violation'

A Russian human rights organization has appealted to the UN and groups protecting the rights of people with intellectual disabilities to oppose the ban on Russian athletes taking part in the Beijing 2022 Paralympic Games.

In response to the invasion of Ukraine, the Paralympic Committee (IPC) initially said it would allow Russian athletes to compete under a neutral flag.

The decision was swiftly overturned following threats of boycotts from numerous athletes and nations, with Belarusian competitors also banned.

IPC President Andrew Parsons said the move aimed to protect the "long-term health and survival" of the Paralympic movement, but Russian sports minister Oleg Matytsin has confirmed that his country will be challenging the ruling in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

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The Council under the President of the Russian Federation for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights said it also wants to overturn the ban and has appealed to the UN Human Rights Council and Inclusion International and Inclusion Europe, an international and European association that protects the rights of people with intellectual disabilities and their families.

"As a result of political games, people who are outside of politics suffered... overcoming pain and not missing a single workout, they aim for their goal.

"Russia is doing a lot to fulfill its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, taking into account the comments and proposals of international bodies in the field of ensuring and protecting the rights of people with disabilities.

"Sport is outside of politics – this principle has always been strictly observed by Russia and its Olympic and Paralympic teams.

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"The same principle has been severely violated by the International Paralympic Committee in relation to Russian Paralympic athletes over the past six years.

"The Paralympic Games, which is designed to unite people and show everyone the strength and greatness of the spirit of people with disabilities, unfortunately, paradoxically has become a hotbed of hostility and disunity.

"Today we ask you to give a principled assessment of the situation and condemn the decision of the International Paralympic Committee to remove innocent Russian people with disabilities from the Paralympic Games and to discriminate against them for political reasons."

The Russian Football Union is also appealing to CAS to overturn decisions by FIFA and UEFA.

Among a range of measures imposed on Russian teams, the football governing bodies have banned them from playing in competitions under their organization.

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