IOC strengthens its support to the sports community in Afghanistan via a dedicated humanitarian aid fund
AMTV, Dec 8 – As a next step in the comprehensive action it has been undertaking to address the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) will work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to deliver financial assistance directly to the Olympic community in the country.
An aid package of up to USD 560,000 was approved today by the IOC Executive Board; this will benefit up to 2,000 beneficiaries and help them over the winter to carry on their sporting activities.
National sports team elite athletes and coaches, in addition to National Federation officials still living in Afghanistan, will be eligible to access this financial aid, and priority will be given to women. This one-off assistance of USD 265 per beneficiary – in line with UNHCR’s winterisation programme – will also be extended to the Afghan Paralympic community and to non-Olympic-sport National Federations.
“This follows the help we have offered to the Olympic community in Afghanistan in order to receive humanitarian visas, which led to 300 of them being able to leave the country,” said IOC President Thomas Bach.
He added: “It is also a result of our talks and our quiet diplomacy efforts with the Taliban. Not only do they accept this help, but they support it. It shows that quiet diplomacy works, and what effect it can have.”
“This humanitarian aid package can only be implemented because of our excellent partnership with UNHCR and the UN High Commissioner, Filippo Grandi,” he concluded.
UNHCR, which has a strong presence in Afghanistan, has confirmed that it could distribute the IOC humanitarian funding directly to the members of the Olympic community in Afghanistan.
After consultation with the Taliban, it has been agreed that the IOC and the elected office-bearers of the Afghan National Olympic Committee (NOC) will cooperate to consolidate the list of candidates with the respective National Federations to ensure a transparent and fair selection process.
This new IOC initiative responds to the recent call from the Afghan NOC to support the Afghan Olympic community members that have remained in the country and address the impending humanitarian crisis over the upcoming winter.
On 18 November 2021, the IOC and the Olympic Council of Asia met in Doha with a delegation led by the recently appointed Director of Physical Education & Sports of Afghanistan. During these meetings, the Afghan authorities confirmed that they would welcome the concept of any form of humanitarian assistance or financial support that the IOC could provide to their population in general and the sports community in particular.
The IOC is committed to carrying on its aid efforts along with its partners and will continue to work closely with the Afghan NOC to coordinate and monitor the requests for humanitarian assistance and the evacuation of Olympic community members who are still in Afghanistan.
Photo Credit: IOC/Greg Martin