United Nations adopts Tokyo 2020 Olympic Truce resolution

IOC President Thomas Bach and Organising Committee President Yoshiro Mori address UN in New York

By Rory Jiwani ·

The Olympic Truce resolution for the Tokyo 2020 Games has been approved at the United Nations General Assembly in New York City.

The draft resolution, calling upon UN member states to cease hostilities in order to protect the interests of athletes and sport in general, was presented by Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee President Yoshiro Mori. Nearly every member state chose to co-sponsor the resolution.

IOC President Thomas Bach addressed the General Assembly, saying: "It is indeed encouraging to see the wide level of support of member states for this resolution.

"This resolution is a powerful reminder of the shared values on which both the United Nations and the IOC are built. What better time than this Olympic year, 2020, to emphasise these shared values.

"With the adoption of the Olympic Truce resolution today, you are supporting the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 as this true symbol of peace in our world. Today is therefore a welcome opportunity to reaffirm the commitment of the IOC to our shared values of peace, solidarity, and respect."

Addressing the issue of the Refugee Olympic Team which competed at Rio 2016, President Bach noted: "Exactly four years ago, in this very place, I announced the creation of [the] IOC Refugee Olympic Team. These athletes then competed on an equal basis with all the other athletes in the Olympic Games Rio 2016.

"Standing here again four years later, I wish I could announce to you we do not need a Refugee Olympic Team any more, but unfortunately the reasons why we created this team continue to persist. This is why we will have once again we will have an IOC Refugee Olympic Team at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. In this way, we want to send a strong message of hope to all refugees and at the same time we want to raise awareness all across the world about this global refugee crisis."

He concluded: "I invite you all to join hands and to celebrate our unity in all our diversity at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 and beyond. Let us demonstrate together that our shared humanity is stronger than the forces that want to divide us."

The resolution was adopted unanimously without a vote.

UN Secretary General Antonio Gutierrez with IOC President Thomas Bach at PyeongChang 2018

What is the Olympic Truce?

The Olympic Truce was introduced ahead of the first Ancient Olympic Games in 776 BC by King Iphitos of Elis in conjunction with fellow monarchs Cleisthenes of Pisa and Lycurgus of Sparta.

They signed the "Ekecheira" which called for an end to all regional conflict in Greece from seven days before the start of the Games until seven days after their completion.

Athens hosted the first modern Olympics in 1896, but it was not until 1992 that the Olympic Truce was revived.

The IOC also came to an agreement with the UN that athletes from the then Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (subsequently Serbia and Montenegro) could compete in Barcelona under the Olympic flag despite the country being subject to UN sanctions.

The following year, the UN member states voted to observe the Olympic Truce for all future Games starting with the Lillehammer 1994 Winter Olympics.

At the same time, a UN resolution entitled "Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideal" was presented to the General Assembly and has been adopted before every Games since Lillehammer 1994.

Promoting peace through sport and the Olympic ideal

Building on the work of the IOC and the UN, the International Olympic Truce Foundation was founded in 2000 to promote peace through sport and the Olympic ideal.

And in 2003, ahead of the Games' return to its roots at Athens 2004, the UN General Assembly called upon all member states "to cooperate with the IOC in its efforts to use the Olympic Truce as an instrument to promote peace, dialogue and reconciliation in areas of conflict during and beyond the Olympic Games period".

Perhaps the greatest example of the Olympic Truce in action came at PyeongChang 2018 where the athletes from host nation Republic of Korea (South Korea) and neighbours DPR Korea (North Korea) put aside their countries' long-running conflict to march together at the Opening Ceremony.

The two Koreas march together as one

Athletes from North Korea and host nation South Korea parade under the Kore...

Weeks later, leaders Moon Jae-in and Kim Jong Un met on the southern side of the Korean Demilitarised Zone to begin a new era of peace in the region.

It was the first time a North Korean leader had crossed into the South since the end of the Korean War in 1953 with Moon also setting foot in the North.

The pair signed the Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula which was submitted to the UN General Assembly in September 2018.

Kim Jung Un and Moon Jae-in celebrate signing the Panmunjom Declaration on 27 April 2018