2024 Olympics: UN adopts Olympic truce despite Russia's opposition

The Olympic Truce is a tradition that dates back to Ancient Greece in the ninth century BC and has been revived for modern Olympics since Lillehammer in 1994: UN member countries commit to a cessation of hostilities one week before the start of the Olympic Games and up to seven days after the end of the Paralympics.

The President of the International Olympic Committee addresses the United Nations General Assembly on November 21, 2023. REUTERS - BRENDAN MCDERMID

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All 2024 truces had been adopted by consensus a few months before the start of the edition so far, our UN correspondent Carrie Nooten recalls, but Russia has decided to complicate the process by provoking a vote for the Paris <> Games. Moscow said it was protesting the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) decision to ban Russian athletes from competing in the Olympics under their national flags since the launch of the Russian offensive in Ukraine.


There is a dangerous tendency to interfere in sport and use it as an instrument of political pressure," Russian Deputy Ambassador to the UN Maria Zabolotskaya denounced, calling the "discrimination" against Russian athletes "the height of hypocrisy and cynicism."


This is in no way discrimination against athletes, it concerns compliance with the rules of the Olympic Charter," IOC President Thomas Bach told reporters, as the IOC suspended the Russian Olympic Committee in October for placing several sports organisations in occupied Ukrainian regions under its authority.

Voted by only 118 of the 193 countries

The decision might have been anecdotal, but it makes it the least sustained Olympic truce in the history of the modern Games. It was voted on by only 118 member countries out of 193 – Russia and Syria abstained, and 70 countries, including overwhelmingly those on the African continent, did not want to speak.

By comparison, 173 of the UN's 193 members supported the truce two years ago. International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach lamented that the world "faces so many confrontations, divisions and polarisation" when he believes that people aspire to "unifying events", such as an Olympic truce. He called for "sending an unequivocal message to the world: yes, we can come together even in times of wars and crises."

The IOC considers Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 to be a violation of the Olympic truce linked to the Beijing 2022 Olympics and has recommended that international federations ban their competitions from Russian soil and ban all official Russian symbols. But he hasn't decided yet about the Games.

The resolution calls on member states to "observe the Olympic Truce individually and collectively" from the seventh day before the start of the Paris Olympics (26 July to 11 August 2024) and until the seventh day after the end of the Paralympic Games (28 August to 8 September).

Read alsoThe Russian Olympic Committee challenges its suspension before the sports court

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