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The myth of the Olympic truce

From the Peace Pledge Union

The problem with truces, Peace Matters, Spring 2012

The Olympic Truce is a Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly, which requires all signatories to ‘pursue initiatives for peace and reconciliation in the spirit of the ancient Games for the period seven days before the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games until seven days after the end of the Paralympic Games’.

All 193 member states sign it, but no-one has ever implemented it for over twenty-five years. In 1994 the Olympic Truce was adopted as a full resolution of the United Nations General Assembly for the first time. The day before the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway a mortar shell landed in the market square of the besieged former Olympic City of Sarajevo killing 89 and injuring hundreds more.

The Olympic Truce was invoked to broker a ceasefire in Sarajevo and to allow in much needed humanitarian aid saving many lives. The modern Games have run for 112 years and have had to be cancelled because of war three times, been the subject of mass boycotts on five occasions, and been subject to terrorist attacks twice. The Truce has been violated on virtually every occasion. Surely we need a better plan?

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Filed under: militarisation, the problem with the Olympics


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