UN adopts 'Olympic Truce' resolution ahead of 2020 Tokyo Games

Resolution was based on the ancient Greek tradition of 'ekecheiria'

The United Nations’ General Assembly passed a resolution Monday urging nations around the world to honor an “Olympic Truce” during the upcoming 2020 games in Tokyo, Japan.

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The 193-member body adopted the resolution by unanimous vote at the behest of Yoshiro Mori, head of the organizing committee for the 2020 Olympics. The truce calls for participants to cease all hostilities for a period stretching from one week prior to the Olympics, which begin on July 24, until one week after the Paralympic Games, which end on Sept. 6.

The resolution was based on the ancient Greek tradition of “ekecheiria,” a practice dating back to antiquity that was meant to ensure peaceful proceedings and safe passage during Olympic competition. The UN General Assembly restored the tradition in 1993 and has passed similar resolutions ahead of every Olympic cycle since that year.

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“The Olympic Games are the only event today that brings the entire world together in peaceful competition,” International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach said following the General Assembly’s vote.

The measure noted “the role that sports can play to prevent and counter-terrorism and violent extremism as and when conducive to terrorism, and its contributions to building resilience against radicalization to violence and terrorism recruitment.”

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Bach called on nations to maintain a politically neutral atmosphere at the Olympic Games, arguing that the spirit of neutrality “is undermined whenever organizations or individuals attempt to use the Olympic Games as a stage for their own agendas – as legitimate as they might be.”

Earlier Monday, the World Anti-Doping Agency banned Russia from international sport competition for four years over a state-sponsored cheating scheme. The ban includes the 2020 Olympics and prevents athletes from competing under the Russian flag.

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Bach did not mention Russia by name in his speech but noted the international sports community has seen “an increasing erosion of the respect for the global rule of law.”