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Qatar commits to promoting peace in sports by hosting UN football championship in Geneva

The Gulf state had hosted the first edition of the event last year on the occasion of the FIFA World Cup 2022.

The Qatar National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) is adopting the organisation of the United Nations football championship in Geneva, in support of the Gulf state’s efforts in promoting sports for peace.

On Monday, Doha’s news agency (QNA) reported that the initiative was initially recommended by Qatar’s permanent delegation to the UN in Geneva under its wider efforts to support the global organisation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) through sports.

The recommendation involved the organisation of a tournament with the participation of teams representing diplomats of the UN’s member states along with international entities in Geneva.

The director of the NHRC’s programmes and education department, Hamad Salem Al Hajri, had participated in meetings with Qatar’s UN delegation in Geneva over the championship. 

During the meeting, Al Hajri described the championship as an opportunity to enhance the “integration of human rights concepts in sporting events.”

The NHRC’s support for the tournament comes after Qatar’s Permanent Mission to the UN in Geneva hosted the second Diplomatic Community Football event on Sunday. 

Under the theme “Sport for Peace, Human Rights and Development”, the event saw the participation of eight teams, including ones from the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab Group, Africa and Asia.

During the event, Qatar’s UN envoy in Geneva Dr. Hind Al Muftah noted that the tournament displayed the Gulf state’s “belief that sport is an effective tool for promoting human rights, peace, sustainable development and strengthening social bonds.”

“If politics divides within closed meetings, sports unites in open fields,” Dr. Al Muftah added, as cited by Qatar’s foreign ministry.

The Qatari envoy and the UN’s Director-General in Geneva Tatiana Valovaya presented the winning teams with awards at the end of the game.

“The organisation of this tournament […] underscores the role of football in promoting principles of tolerance, unity in diversity, cooperation and solidarity. It provides a sense of normalcy, fosters self-confidence, and builds collective spirit,” the foreign ministry added.

The Gulf state had hosted the first edition of the event last year on the occasion of the FIFA World Cup 2022, which Dr. Al Muftah described as “a tremendous success”.

With all eyes on Qatar last year as the first Arab and Muslim country to host the World Cup, the major sporting event served as an opportunity to showcase the use of sports as a tool for social development.

Last year, Qatar broke the isolation of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP’s) worldwide.

Under the “Qatar FIFA 2022 for All: Celebrating Football with Refugees and Displaced People”, the Gulf state established fanzones across camps in six countries, including Jordan, Syria, Sudan, Kenya, Bangladesh and Somalia.

The fanzones played a major role in breaking refugees and IDP isolation, with matches broadcasted across the camps and entertaining activities established throughout the tournament.