United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said he would attend the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics next month with the message the event “must be an instrument of peace in the world”.
His confirmed attendance comes amid a US-led diplomatic boycott to protest China’s human rights record, joined by Australia, Britain, Canada and Japan. China denies rights abuses and condemned the boycott as betraying Olympic principles.
“The Olympic Games is an extremely important event, and it’s an event that symbolises the role of sports in bringing people together and in promoting peace,” Guterres said on Thursday.
“It is in this strict context and without any political dimension that I intend to be present in the opening – with this message that Olympic Games must be an instrument for peace in the world.”
Rights groups and US lawmakers have called on the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Games and relocate them unless China ends what the US deems genocide against ethnic Uighurs and members of other Muslim minority groups.
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