Lessons of love from the Olympics

The spate of terrorism, mass killings, growing crisis, and humanitarian situation across the globe definitely requires a state of emergency to be declared on planet earth. The impact of the crisis on vulnerable women and children is even more alarming with rape and sexual violence used to terrorise crisis zones. It is estimated that some 20 million people are displaced internationally and an additional 40 million people displaced within their own countries.

Various quick measures are required from the international community with a definite stance taken and not the current questionable quibbling posture among super powers. Of note, the establishment of the United Nations in 1945 was due to the resolution of member nations to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which brought untold sorrow to mankind, and to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, as aptly captured in the preamble of the United Nations Charter.

Precisely, Article 39 of the UN Charter allows the Security Council of the United Nations to determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of peace or acts of aggression and to take necessary measures in accordance with Articles 41 and 42 to maintain or restore international peace and security. Hence, urgent steps are required to respond to the medical, psychological, social and economic consequences resulting from displacement of civilians due to outbreak of war.

As the cliché goes- ‘action speaks louder than words’. In a historic step, respite came the way of conflict zones such as South Sudan, Syria, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Ethiopia at 2016 Olympic Games – the pinnacle of sporting activities, with ten athletes from these zones accorded the newly introduced status of ‘Refugee Olympic Team’, portraying an amazing tale of triumph over adversity. This ‘Super Special’ team comprises athletes that come from different countries who had to leave their homes due to security concerns in search of succour.

Remarkably, they are competing at the Rio games this year: in track and field, swimming, and judo. This initiative, which is in accordance with international humanitarian law and principles, is indeed highly commendable and is clearly a welcomed development. It definitely serves to give hope and motivate other refugees from conflict zones and internally displaced persons in various camps to continue believing that there will be light at the end of the tunnel.

However, there is still a long way to go before durable stability and eventually, peace can be restored in our troubled world.

  • Barrister Ogunjobi Michael,