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FIFA & WHO to mark International Human Rights Day with anti-discrimination message!

FIFA and the World Health Organization (WHO) will mark International Human Rights Day on Saturday, December 10 by reinforcing the message that there is no place for discrimination of any kind, either in football or in society in general. During the FIFA World Cup quarterfinal matches on December 9/10, the #NoDiscrimination message will feature on giant screens and LEDs in stadium and, as during the whole of the tournament, on the captains’ armbands.

Discrimination – in all its possible forms and expressions – is one of the most common forms of human rights violations and abuse. It affects millions of people every day, stifling opportunities, harming physical and mental health, wasting human talent and accentuating social tensions and inequalities.

“Stigma and discrimination can be extremely harmful to mental and physical health and can prevent people from accessing the health services they need,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “WHO is proud to partner with FIFA on the No Discrimination campaign. Everyone has the right to health and fighting stigma and discrimination whenever and wherever they appear is essential for realising that right.”

WHO’s constitution, adopted in 1948, states that the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, gender, political belief, economic or social condition.

Anti-discrimination has been a core principle in the implementation of new measures to transform FIFA since 2016. A policy of zero tolerance for racism and discrimination was incorporated into the FIFA disciplinary code in 2019, and FIFA has introduced a monitoring system to report incidents of discrimination at matches in FIFA competitions. A good practice has been provided for the 211 member associations, supported by the principles outlined in the FIFA Statutes (Article 4).

FIFA’s #NoDiscrimination campaign has been running throughout the FIFA World Cup and includes a ground-breaking monitoring and moderation service designed to protect players from abusive, discriminatory and threatening comments on social media.

The service – which was launched with the support of FIFPRO, the worldwide representative organisation of professional footballers – has been offered to every team and player taking part in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ and is managed entirely on their behalf, ensuring they can focus on performing on the pitch rather than having to deal with social media abuse.

During the group stage of the tournament, the service automatically and instantly hid more than 100,000 abusive and offensive comments (including spam) on behalf of opted-in teams and players, while more than 6,000 posts were reported directly to social media companies for further action. This shows how online abuse remains an alarming issue for football players and all of society; its detrimental consequences to mental health and well-being should not be underestimated. A complete report will be published following the conclusion of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™.

Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December, the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted, in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This proclaims the inalienable rights that everyone is entitled to as a human being – regardless of race, colour, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, language, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

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