Sporting Organisations Pledge Support for Human Rights

Three more members of the NI Sport and Human Rights Forum have pledged to support upholding the protection and promotion of human rights within and through their sports.

Swim Ireland, Netball NI and Ulster Hockey have all signed up to the Declaration on Sport and Human Rights.

The Declaration sets out a number of commitments where signatories pledge to take human rights into consideration across all processes in their organisation.

The declaration is based upon the original 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and adapted for ease of application with the sporting environment. It was originally drafted by Commonwealth Games Northern Ireland and the NI Human Rights Commission.

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission Chief Executive, Dr David Russell, stated:

“It is so encouraging to see sporting bodies such as Netball NI, Ulster Hockey and Swim Ireland signing up to the Declaration on Sport and Human Rights. We are delighted that they have pledged to respect, protect and embed human rights into their organisations, and we look forward to working with them through the NI Sport and Human Rights Forum to realise in practice the goals of the Declaration.”

Conal Heatley, Chair of the Northern Ireland Sports and Human Rights Forum added:

“I am delighted that these three sporting bodies have signed up to the Declaration on Sport & Human Rights. The NI Sport and Human Rights Forum has gone from strength to strength since its formation in in 2019 and I would encourage all sporting bodies to join and demonstrate their commitment to human rights by signing the Declaration, recognising the role sport has to play in helping to fulfil the human rights of all.”

Kate Hills, Head of Safeguarding, Ethics & Youth Development at Swim Ireland added: “Swim Ireland are delighted to receive this Declaration of Sport and Human Rights. Thanks to the NI Human Rights Commission for setting up the NI Sport & Human Rights Forum; we have really benefited from being part of Forum and engaging with the network of people involved. The Declaration of Sport and Human Rights sets out the ethos so important for any sport, and for Swim Ireland, we echo this ethos in our work with all who engage in our sport.”


Photo: Kate Hills Swim Ireland receiving the Declarations on Sport and Human Rights from NI Sport & Human Rights Forum Chair Conal Heatley and NI Human Rights Commission Chief Executive David Russell.

  • The Northern Ireland Sport & Human Rights Forum was established in May 2019. The Forum has been established as a multi-stakeholder platform to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and good practice on sport and human rights issues.
  • The Chair of the NI Sport and Human Rights Forum is Conal Heatley, Business and Operations Manager at Commonwealth Games Northern Ireland.
  • The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is an independent statutory body first proposed in the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement (1998) and established in 1999 by the Northern Ireland Act (1998). It is answerable to Parliament at Westminster.