Paris 2024 Olympics: In Solidarity with the Iranian & Saudi Women

International Olympic Committee (IOC) is promoting sexual apartheid by giving in to the demands of radical Islamists who are forcing women to wear hijab during sporting events at Paris 2024 Olympics. This needs to stop.

Nelson Mandela and his fellow anti-apartheid activists campaigned to see South Africa excluded from the Olympic family for 30 years because of the country’s failure to respect the Universal Fundamental Ethical Principles as set out in the Olympic Charter.

It is perplexing, therefore, that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) does not uphold the same standard towards Iran and Saudi Arabia, since both countries impose sexual apartheid. The hijab is one of the most visible tools to implement sexual apartheid in public space. This is the reason why theocracies like Iran and Saudi Arabia make the hijab mandatory. Nike™ and other manufacturers of ‘sport hijabs’ betray Olympic values and assist theocracies in promoting sexual apartheid and extending it beyond those countries’ borders and into the international fora. 

Free Thinker and former South African Leader Nelson Mandela

A petition has been launched to address the disparity between the IOC’s double standards in accepting the exclusion of apartheid South Africa from the Olympic family while allowing states that maintain sexual apartheid. The motion is supported by more than 100 NGOs and more than 360 personalities.  The campaigners met their objective to obtain 2,024 signatures. By an incredible coincidence, this figure was reached on the 23rd of June, a date designated as Olympic Day.

The next step of the struggle is to send the Open Letter signed by petition supporters and addressed to the Paris 2024 Organising Committee (OCOG Paris 2024) to them.

In the letter, anti-apartheid campaigners highlight a promise made by the organizers of Paris 2024 who proclaimed that they would promote sex equality and mix, wanting the legacy of the Olympic Games to be the enforcement of the universal fundamental ethical principles, as set by the Olympic Charter.

Annie Sugier, president of the Ligue Du Droit International des Femmes (LDIF), protests against the sexual apartheid being practiced by Iran and Saudi Arabia by forcing their women athletes to wear Hijab during all Olympic sports.

Among those principles is non-discrimination, including that of sex (Fundamental Principles of Olympism Number 6), and Number 50.2 (Advertising, demonstrations, propaganda) which forbids any religious or political propaganda and/or demonstration in any Olympic venue. Both rules are key to preventing religious diktats imposing sexual apartheid.

This is reiterated in the Olympic oath, which includes a clause to ensure that those given the honour of serving as members of the International Olympic Committee, will, inter alia, undertake to keep [themselves] free from any racial or religious consideration.

The campaign group demanded that the President of the 2024 Paris Games draw the IOC President’s attention to the incompatibility of sexual apartheid with the Olympic Charter. Furthermore, they asked whether the IOC had not inscribed in its 2020 agenda the promotion of “gender equality” and “mixed gender teams events” as a priority, as did the Paris Olympic Committee.

It is vital to seize the opportunity of the 2024 Paris Olympics to emphasize the universality of the principles inscribed in the Olympic Charter, particularly that of neutrality, forbidding any display of political or religious affiliation. This message should be conveyed consistently to the 2024 generation as well as to athletics managers and the athletes themselves and should be at the core of the Paris Games. 

PS: the numérical exhibition about Change Makers at the Lausanne Olympic Museum showing the battle carried out by Annie Sugier since the 90’s on this issue https://change-makers.blog-tom.com/fr/

Annie Sugier
Annie Sugier
Annie Sugier is President of the League of Women’s International Rights. She opened the first shelter for battered women in 1978 in France. She then focused her action on violence against girls from African immigrant families (honour crimes, forced marriages, genital mutilation). Since 1992, she has been leading a new combat in the field of sports, denouncing the wide-spread gender discrimination as well as the sexual apartheid practiced in some Islamic countries. She is a nuclear physicist. She is the co-author of “How Islamism perverted Olympism” ( Chryséis Editions)

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