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International coalition urges Amaury Sport Organisation to adopt human rights policy ahead of Saudi-hosted Dakar Rally

Ahead of the 2020 Dakar Rally, hosted in Saudi Arabia 5-17 January, a coalition of 13 international human rights organisations wrote jointly to organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) urging them to speak out about human rights abuses in the host country.

The organisations emphasised the increasingly repressive rights regime in Saudi Arabia, highlighting the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2019, the targeting of dissidents and women's rights activists, and the alleged torture of detainees at unofficial places of detention. Their letter also points out that ASO currently has around 10,000 journalists and 1,500 media broadcasters covering the sports events, who will be subject to the oppressive environment for journalists in Saudi Arabia.

The signatories recommend that ASO adopt a human rights policy in line with other sport organisations, including FIFA. They recommend that it be based on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and that it enshrine human rights principles throughout ASO's global operations.

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre approached Amaury Sport to invite them to respond to the NGOs' letter and recommendations; it did not respond.

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Company non-response
13 January 2020

Amaury Sport Organisation did not respond to NGOs concerns around Saudi-hosted Dakar rally

3 January 2020

Saudi Arabia: Repressive Site for Dakar Rally

Author: Human Rights Watch (HRW)

Amaury Sport Organisation should use its decision to move the Dakar Rally to Saudi Arabia to denounce the persecution of women’s rights advocates in the country, Human Rights Watch, MENA Rights Group, and 11 other international human rights organizations said...

Sponsors, broadcasters, and athletes are affected by sports organizations’ choices to hold major events in countries that violate basic human rights, the groups said. By agreeing to a five-year relationship with Saudi Arabia, the Amaury Sport Organisation should also agree to adopt and carry out a human rights policy that would identify risks and make use of its leverage to promote respect for human rights in Saudi Arabia.

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2 January 2020

Letter: Amaury Sport Organisation and the Adoption of a Human Rights Policy

Author: ACAT-France, ALQST, ADHRB, Article 19, CIVICUS: World Alliance for Citizen Participation, Committee to Protect Journalists (CPI), European Centre for Democracy and Human Rights, Front Line Defenders, Human Rights Watch, ISHR, MENA Rights Group, RSF, Transparency International (Germany)

We are writing to ask Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O) to adopt a human rights policy to abide by existing international human rights norms and standards...

the signatory organizations have documented the increasingly repressive rights climate in Saudi Arabia. Since Mohammed bin Salman was appointed Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia in June 2017, there have been new, ongoing, arbitrary and abusive practices by Saudi authorities...

The implementation of human rights into your organization could affect millions of people in the A.S.O sports and media ecosystem... The ability of civil society to operate where A.S.O holds events is essential to upholding your company’s credibility and avoiding any contribution or linkage to human rights violations.

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