The Olympic Games have begun. The Games are traditionally presented as a bargaining chip in the context of international human rights diplomacy, but the full picture is much more complex. For those readers who are interested in the human rights aspects of the Games, there is a selection of recommended (open-access) readings after the jump. This is by no means a comprehensive list of the issues raised by the Games – please feel free to suggest other readings in the comments. You can find commentary on the ongoing human rights impact of the Games in London at Games Monitor and at the Counter Olympics Network. An introduction to the political context of the Games is here.
Gender and Sexuality
- See this special issue of Third Space on gender and the Olympic Games. Includes this article on ‘feminity control’, which discusses the case of Caster Semenya, who carried South Africa’s flag at the opening ceremony.
- Gender equality and the Olympics.
- Update: The Human Rights Watch ‘Let Them Play’ campaign provides context to the participation of the first female Saudi athletes in the Games. However, Wujdan Sharkhani may not be able to compete in judo because of the International Judo Federation’s new hijab ban. The Iranian women’s soccer team were disqualified in a qualifying round for the Olympic Games when they insisted on wearing hijabs, contrary to FIFA’s ban. FIFA has temporarily suspended the ban for the duration of the Games.
Embodiment and Disability
- This article, “Discourses of the Too-Abled” discusses the efforts to exclude Oscar Pistorious, who runs on carbon-fibre blades, from competition at the Olympics. You can read the decision of the Court of Arbitration for Sport which overturned the IAAF ban which prevented him from competing against able-bodied athletes here.
- This article on the right to participate in sport, recreation and play discusses the application of the UNCRPD to sport.
Class and Poverty
- This Games Monitor briefing paper documents the population displacements which occured in East London to make room for the Games.
- This HEA Discussion Paper discusses homelessness policy in the context of the Games, paying attention to forcible clearance of the homeless prior to the Sydney and Atlanta Games.
Racial and Cultural Minorities
- This article documents the experience of Irish Travellers who had to leave an established site when Clays Lane in East London was compulsorily purchased for Olympic developments in 2007.
- This article discusses the ‘legacy’ of the Olympics in the context of the race politics of the East End of London.
- This article discusses the 1968 African-American Olympic protest movement.
- ‘No Olympics on Stolen Native Land‘ – the archive of the Vancouver No2010 campaign.
- An article on Aboriginal protest at the Sydney Olympics, and another.
- Website of the Circassian protest against the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.
Security, Policing and Civil Liberties
- Liberty’s summary of the surveillance and security measures taken in advance of the Olympics is here. The Newham Monitoring Project have launched a community legal observers’ scheme to help protect locals who live in the ‘dispersal zone’ near the main Olympic compound.
- Harrow Community Support Ltd v. Secretary of State for Defence  EWHC 1921 concerned a failed challenge by tenants to the siting of a missile launcher on the roof of a council block. The judgment is discussed here.
- moratorium2012 is a campaign to stop the arrest of sex workers in London during the Olympics. Briefing paper here.
- The PlayFair 2012 campaign draws attention to human rights abuses in Olympic suppliers’ factories abroad.