As the Games closed in Beijing, Amnesty urged the International Olympic Committee to build human rights ‘indicators’ into Olympic bids to ensure it did not ‘repeat its mistakes’ at future Games.
‘The Beijing Olympics have been a spectacular sporting event but they took place against a backdrop of human rights violations, with activists prevented from expressing their views peacefully and many in detention when they have committed no crime,’ said Roseann Rife, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Deputy Programme Director.
‘The Chinese authorities and the IOC had an opportunity to demonstrate human rights improvements but in most respects they failed to deliver. Forced evictions, detention of activists and restrictions on journalists should not blight another Olympics.’
Among the abuses, Amnesty highlighted the punishment of activists for applying to demonstrate in areas the Chinese authorities had set aside for protests during the Olympics.
Amnesty called on the IOC ‘to build concrete and measurable human rights impact indicators into all future Olympics bid processes and host city contracts.’
‘It is high time for the IOC to put its core values of human dignity' and universal, fundamental ethical principles' into practice by making human rights a new pillar of the Olympic Games,’ it said.
The group did, however, recognise some positive steps taken by the authorities, such as unblocking several international websites, including Amnesty's own site, in response to concern expressed by mainly foreign journalists at the start of the Games.
But it urged the Chinese authorities to extend the unblocking to other websites which contain critical coverage of its policies, and called for Beijing to allow the relaxed regulations introduced for foreign journalists in China to be made permanent for all journalists.
Small groups of foreign protesters were arrested during the Olympics, mainly for pro-Tibet demonstrations.The United States on Saturday urged China to release eight American nationals detained for protesting in Beijing.