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Alexandra Xanthaki

The Human Rights Perspective on Banning Russian and Belarussian Athletes from International Sports Competitions

The author, Patricia Wiater, holds the Chair for Public Law, Public International Law and Human Rights at the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany, and is a member of the Centre for Human Rights Erlangen-Nürnberg. In December 2022, she was appointed as a member of the Advisory Committee on Human Rights of the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB).

Licensed under CC BY SA. The article was written and published under the Headline „Peaceful and Neutral Games“ at Verfassungsblog.

In a statement issued on March 17, 2023, the German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) advocated to uphold the current exclusion of Russian and Belarusian athletes and officials from international competitions. (See: Olympia-Ausschluss russischer/belarussischer Sportsoldaten ist rechtlich natürlich zulässig/JW) In light of the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris 2024 this topic is currently of great concern to the international sports world. The DOSB statement was preceded by an extensive consultation process, as part of which I had prepared a legal opinion on the human rights framework of such an exclusion. From a human rights perspective, I agree with the core of the DOSB position: the exclusion serves the aims of protecting the rights of Ukrainian athletes and of preventing sporting events from being instrumentalised for war propaganda. These are legitimate reasons for the unequal treatment of Russian athletes.