(No. 312 - October 20, 2009 - 6:50 p.m. EDT) The Government of Canada and the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) today welcomed the United Nations’ adoption of the Olympic Truce Resolution for the 2010 Winter Games. The Government and VANOC presented the resolution, a UN and Olympic Games tradition, at the UN General Assembly in New York, and it was adopted last night by consensus of the 192 UN member states.
"This resolution reflects the intersection of the goals and aspirations of both the UN and the Olympic movement, promoting the ideals of peace, understanding and fair play within the positive atmosphere of sport," said Deepak Obhrai, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. "I am honoured to represent Canada in this important international tradition."
"By observing the Olympic Truce, we will be promoting peace and understanding," said the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of State (Sport). "The Games present an opportunity for all humanity to seize a moment in time and work together under the Olympic ideals of equal opportunities and fair play."
The modern Olympic truce commemorates the one observed during the games in ancient Greece. It has now become a tradition for the host country to present a resolution at the UN calling for a truce during the Olympic Games. The truce encourages a peaceful environment and safe passage for Games athletes, and serves to mobilize the youth of the world in the cause of peace.
A number of partners worked together to draft the Olympic Truce Resolution presented yesterday at the United Nations: VANOC, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the International Paralympic Committee and Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada.
VANOC Chief Executive Officer John Furlong introduced the resolution, entitled "Building a peaceful and better world through sport and the Olympic ideals," at the UN General Assembly.
"For these Games to have true and lasting meaning for all lives that will be touched by the Games, we need to ensure a human legacy—one that is about harnessing the power of sport to transform the spirit of a nation, if not an entire world community," said Mr. Furlong in his address to the General Assembly.
"The widespread support for this resolution speaks not only for its symbolic value, but also for its practical potential," said Jacques Rogge, President of the IOC. "Today, the IOC and its member organizations undertake various initiatives at the local, national, regional and world levels to promote and strengthen a culture of peace based on the spirit of the Olympic Truce—often in collaboration with UN agencies and other partners."
Parliamentary Secretary Obhrai participated today in the unveiling of a temporary 2010 Olympic Truce exhibition at the UN. The exhibition will offer a preview of an installation to be located in the athletes’ villages at the Vancouver 2010 Games. That installation will be a place for athletes and officials at the Games to sign declarations expressing their wish for a more peaceful world. Attendees at the unveiling will include Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General, and Ambassador John McNee, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Canada to the UN.
The celebration sets the stage for the journey of the Olympic Torch to Canada, which will begin Thursday with the torch’s lighting in the Temple of Hera, at Olympia, Greece.
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For further information, media representatives may contact:
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs
Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada