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13 Jan 2020

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

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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.