Four Swiss Tibetan organizations file complaint against IOC for non-compliance with OECD guidelines

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Geneva, Switzerland — Four Tibetan organizations based in Switzerland filed a complaint on Friday, July 23, 2021, against the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for not following the guidelines given by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) regarding the Beijing Winter Olympics planned for 2022.

The Swiss Tibetan Friendship Association, the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe, Tibetan Women's Organization- Switzerland, and the Tibetan Community in Switzerland and Liechtenstein were the four complainants against IOC.

In the press release, the complainants allege that the IOC awarded the 2022 Winter Olympics to China despite knowing of widespread and egregious human rights violations in Tibet, East Turkestan (Ch: Xinjiang), Hong Kong, Southern Mongolia (Ch: Inner Mongolia), and other Chinese territories. It further notes that the 155 known incidents of self-immolation by Tibetans in Tibet are signs of sufficiently intense opposition to the Chinese Communist regime's repressive policies.

The complainants also allege that several sponsors, partners, and suppliers of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics are allegedly linked, directly or indirectly, to forced labor/detention camps, in clear defiance of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

The OECD has a set of guidelines specifically designed for multinational enterprises like the IOC. According to the guidelines, the IOC should respect internationally recognized human rights and follow the code of human rights due to diligence guidelines when it comes to activities such as the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.

However, according to the four Swiss-Tibetan organizations, the IOC has been repeatedly ignoring the calls made by human rights-based organizations who are concerned about the widespread human rights violations by China in the past and present times. Many calls are being made internationally to promote the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics in 2022.

"The Olympic Games represent human values that should be emulated and aspired to. However, the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing represents the eradication of these same human values. The IOC may be excused as a mistake for awarding the 2008 Olympics to China, but awarding the 2022 Winter Olympics to China is nothing less than a co-conspiracy to commit crimes against humanity. That is why we feel it is our duty, through this complaint, to remind the IOC of its elementary responsibility to uphold these very human values that are now being floated across the board by the award to Beijing," said the President of the Swiss Tibet Friendship Association and the lead complainant of this case Thomas Büchli.

The concerns of these four Swiss Tibetan organizations over the human rights violations issue were amplified and supported by the Tibet Bureau in Geneva. "It is of paramount importance that the International Olympic Committee carries out human rights due diligence for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics to ensure that detainees of internment camps are not abused for organizing Olympics. The human values which the Games represent should be implemented in practice and not just remain restricted to papers," said the Special Appointee for Human Rights Thinlay Chukki from Tibet Bureau in Geneva.