UN programme to guard sport against terror attacks

By: News Desk
Published: 12:29 PM, 4 Feb, 2020
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The United Nations launched a global program Monday to stop attacks at major sporting events and promote sports as a way to prevent extremism.

Sports federation representatives and ambassadors met at the United Nations headquarters in New York to launch a programme aimed at protecting major sports events from terrorist attacks.

The programme will create guidelines for international cooperation between organisations involved in the security of sports events, facilitate the exchange of information and good practices, and develop related public-private partnerships. It will also have a focus on using sport and its values as a tool to prevent extremism among young people.

Attendees at the launch included the International Olympic Committee, national Olympic committees, Fifa, and private companies. News service Xinhua said Qatar, China and South Korea were funding the initiative.

The UN said: “The multi-year initiative looks to harness the positive values that sports promote to help crack down on the spread of violent extremism, particularly among young people.”

Vladimir Voronkov, head of the UN Office of Counter-Terrorism (UNOCT), said: “Protecting major sporting events entails multilevel cooperation and coordination, as well as complex security and policy arrangements, including securing locations, cyber security, crisis planning and management, (and) strategic communications.

“Through our joint programme, we will focus on the exchange of information and best practices, and on sharing resources and facilitating partnerships.” He added: “Sport is a fundamental and true human value: a strong vaccine against any kind of criminal disease. We have a moral obligation to protect and promote sport.”

Speaking at the event, China’s UN envoy Zhang Jun said the country was focused on securing the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics: “We will establish a security centre, a command and control centre and an intelligence centre, as well as interactive mechanisms among different sites hosting the games to ensure a safe, smoothly run and successful Winter Olympics.”

Hassan al-Thawadi, who is leading Qatar’s effort to deliver the 2022 Fifa World Cup told those in attendance, via a video message: “We are working hand-in-hand with our allies and partners around the world on exchanging best practice, information sharing, personnel sharing, and in assisting in maintaining the security of Qatar ahead of and during 2022.”