UN General Assembly approves Olympic Truce for PyeongChang 2018

Truce will cover both Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games next year

A general view of a street scene near the PyeongChang Mountain Cluster, host of the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. PyeongChang, South Korea, is hosting the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games. © • Getty Images

The Olympic Truce for the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games was approved by consensus by the United Nations General Assembly on Monday (13 November) in New York, USA, following two hours of discussions between Member States.

The resolution titled “Building a peaceful and better world through sport and Olympic ideal” calls on nations of the world to uphold the Olympic Truce during the upcoming Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. It was formally submitted to the General Assembly by South Korea, on behalf of the Olympic Movement and the PyeongChang 2018 Organising Committee (POCOG), led by its President Lee Hee-beom.

The consensus for the Olympic Truce resolution included both South Korea and North Korea, as well as future host countries of the Olympic and Paralympic Games: Japan, China, France and the USA.

By adopting the resolution, the international community at the United Nations recognises the power of sport and the relevance of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to bring the world together in peaceful competition, providing hope for a better future.

The first operative clause of the resolution specifically asks Member States “to ensure the safe passage, access and participation of athletes, officials and all other accredited persons taking part in the Olympic Winter Games and Paralympic Winter Games”.

It also urges countries to cease conflicts during the period of the Olympic Truce that begins seven days before the opening of the Olympic Winter Games and until the seventh day after the closing of the Paralympic Winter Games. During this time countries are urged to harness sport to foster and encourage concrete action that promotes dialogue and reconciliation during the Games and beyond.

Following the adoption of the resolution, IOC President Thomas Bach said: “For the athletes who will gather in PyeongChang for the Olympic Winter Games, this resolution will carry a special significance, a deeply personal one. With the Olympic Truce resolution, the United Nation General Assembly is creating the conditions for all athletes to compete in peace. Only the UN Member States can guarantee the athletes a safe passage to the Olympic Games. They make it possible for all the Olympic athletes to realise their dream of a lifetime.”

He continued: “The Olympic athletes show the whole world that it is possible to compete with each other while living peacefully together under one roof at the same time.”

In his remarks, the President of the United Nations General Assembly H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajcak, said: "The Olympic Games and the United Nations aspire to the same ideal. This is an ideal based on humanity. It says that, no matter what is going on in state capitals around the world, people will always have a space in which to engage and connect."

Bringing people together through sport

Andrew Parsons, IPC President, said: “There is nothing better in the world for bringing people of all backgrounds together in peace and hope than sport. In a world of differences, the Olympic and Paralympic Games showcase the best of humanity, the power of the human spirit, and what can be achieved when global citizens come together in friendship and in peace.

“Sport and peace go hand-in-hand and with safe passage to the PyeongChang 2018 Games, athletes can focus fully on delivering performances that will not only inspire and empower billions around the world, but transform attitudes and lead to greater social inclusion for all.”

The Olympic Truce recognises the role that the Paralympic Movement plays in showcasing the achievements of athletes with disabilities to a global audience and in acting as a primary vehicle to promote positive perceptions and greater inclusion of persons with disabilities in sport and society.

It also recognises that the active involvement of persons with disabilities in sports and the Paralympics Games contributes to the full and equal realisation of their human rights, as well as respect for their inherent dignity.

South Korea’s Olympic gold medallist and Honorary Ambassador for the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games 2018 Yuna Kim also addressed the General Assembly and said: “I firmly believe the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games will help spread the message of peace through one of the few languages that has the power to unite people around the world: the graceful and universal language of sport.”

The tradition of the Olympic Truce has been to ensure a halt of all hostilities, allowing the safe passage and participation of athletes and spectators taking part in the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

The Olympic Winter Games 2018 will take place in PyeongChang, South Korea, from 9 to 25 February 2018 and will be followed by the Paralympic Games from 9 to 18 March 2018.