September 24, 2015

LONDON (AP) Human rights groups accused the IOC on Thursday of failing to include explicit requirements on human rights in the host city contract for the 2024 Summer Olympics.

The International Olympic Committee, meanwhile, said it was ''surprised'' by the criticism and insisted that the contract does ''explicitly'' include references to gay rights, workers' rights and freedom of the press during the games

Amnesty International issued a statement on behalf of the ''Sport and Rights Alliance'' that also includes Transparency International Germany and the International Trade Union Confederation.

Eduard Nazarski, director of Amnesty International Netherlands, said it was ''astonishing'' that the IOC omitted explicit references to human rights in the contract.

''It is essential that the IOC wakes up to the human rights impact of its events, and lives up to the expectations created around Agenda 2020,'' he said, referring to the reform program enacted under IOC President Thomas Bach last year.

The contract was publicly released last week when the IOC confirmed the five bid cities for the 2024 Games - Paris; Rome; Los Angeles; Hamburg, Germany; and Budapest, Hungary. The host city will be selected in September 2017.

The IOC was criticized by human rights groups ahead of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi after Russia passed a law prohibiting gay ''propaganda.'' The IOC also faced criticism over the selection of Beijing as host of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

The human rights groups noted that the new host city contract prohibits discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and includes language on media reporting and international labor standards.

''However, none of these changes go far enough,'' the alliance said. ''Requirements on labor and anti-corruption standards are also severely lacking in detail.''

IOC spokesman Mark Adams disputed the criticism.

''We were surprised by these comments since the changes to the host city contract were publicly welcomed by member groups of this alliance at the time,'' he said in a statement to The Associated Press.

Adams said the contract ''explicitly references all three areas highlighted by the Sport and Rights Alliance: LGBT rights, workers' rights and free reporting in the context of the Olympic Games.''

''By signing the host city contract, games organizers commit to upholding all aspects of the Olympic Charter for all games-related matters and for all participants,'' he said.

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