FIFA sends formal response to EI's protest against trafficking of women and young girls during the World Cup
In response to EI's letter dated 19 June, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), sent a formal statement by their President Joseph Blatter condemning the trafficking of women and young girls into forced prostitution during the World Cup.
"FIFA earnestly condemns any violation of human rights and has a firm position in this regard, which leaves no space for doubt. We have therefore – back in 2003 – decided to dedicate the 2006 FIFA World Cup GermanyTM to raising awareness about children's rights, peace and anti-discrimination, as our main and only focuses, and have developed specific campaigns in cooperation with UN agencies and non-governmental organisations," said Federico Addiechi, FIFA's Head of Corporate Social Responsibility.
In the FIFA statement, Blatter stated that the organisation recognises the leading role of sport, and of football in particular, to act as a catalyst in campaigns against the scourges of society all around the world, and consequently,FIFA has decided to concentrate on three main messages for the 2006 FIFA World CupTM: the rights of children, peace and the fight against discrimination. We have developed special programmes in cooperation with a range of non-governmental organisations in order to promote these messages. FIFA currently supports a growing number of associated activities and will continue to pursue these objectives in the future.
EI thanks FIFA for its response and is now awaiting the reply of the German government. As was stated in both EI's letter and FIFA's response, the trafficking of human beings for sexual exploitation is a criminal offense in Germany.
Below is the FIFA statement as well as their letter, in English, dated 25 June 2006:
Fred van Leeuwen General Secretary 5, Bd du Rai Albert II 1210 Brussels Belgium
Berlin, 25 June 2006
2006 FIFA World Cup Germany
Dear Mr van Leeuwen,
We acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 19 June 2006 addressed to FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.
Many thanks for your petition against the disregard of human rights and prostitution that you put forward in connection with the upcoming 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany.
As you might already know, according to its statutes FIFA is politically and denominationally neutral and has to respect international and national law.
While organising an international competition it is FIFA's main duty to accurately and in accordance with its sporting and technical norms and regulations stage the competition.
Nevertheless, FIFA acknowledges the power of football and the potential impact of its competitions – especially the FIFA World CupTM – and has therefore the tradition of dedicating such platforms to raise awareness and funds to fight some of the most pressing social issues of our time.
FIFA earnestly condemns any violation of human rights and has a firm position in this regard, which leaves no space for doubt. We have therefore – back in 2003 – decided to dedicate the 2006 FIFA World Cup GermanyTM to raising awareness about children's rights, peace and anti-discrimination, as our main and only focuses, and have developed specific campaigns in cooperation with UN agencies and non-governmental organisations.
We deplore human trafficking and have full understanding for the request of many organisations but, as you comprehend, it is unfortunately not possible for FIFA to start other campaigns than the above-mentioned in connection with the FIFA World CupTM, independent from the relevance or good intention of their causes.
Further, in order to demonstrate its social responsibility, FIFA has set up strategic alliances with international organisations that have long-established aims, such as UNICEF, WHO, ILO, UNHCR, SOS Children's Villages and others, to link the power of football with the experience and ability of those who, day by day and side by side, are striving tirelessly to make a better world.
The most hotly debated topics of our times, such as equality, peace, children's rights, health, education and the environment, do not escape the attention of FIFA. The fight against discrimination, racism and child labour and for better health, equal education opportunities for boys and girls, and the integration of handicapped people in society, are some of the priorities that FIFA has been concentrating on for many years.
We thank you for your support.
FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE FOOTBALL ASSOCIATION
Federico Addiechi Head of Corporate Social Responsibility
STATEMENT BY FIFA PRESIDENT JOSEPH S. BLATTER
Response to the issue of forced prostitution in Germany during the 2006 FIFA World Cup
As FIFA President, I would like to make two fundamental points. I understand the fear that major sporting events, including the 2006 FIFA World CupTM, will attract prostitution. However, I am also aware that Germany has specifically proscribed the trafficking, recruitment, transport and exploitation of people.
Furthermore, the concept of trafficking human beings for sexual exploitation is prohibited by German criminal law, and the German government has made people trafficking a target in its battle against organised crime and illegal immigration. In principle, illegal immigrants and victims are deported. Having said that, prostitution has been legal in Germany since 2002, although the law does allow each of the Lander to prohibit prostitution under certain conditions.
No controls outside stadiums and no political involvement
Against this background, FIFA, as a sporting organisation responsible for competitive football, is not in a position to control what happens outside the perimeters of the stadiums; it has neither the power nor jurisdiction to do so. Politically and legally, we cannot intervene in the sovereignty of a country or affect its policies, and we must respect the prevailing national legal systems and international agreements. FIFA cannot take the place of the German authorities, whether in political or criminal matters.
Breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
However, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, trafficking people for prostitution is incompatible with the dignity and worth of human beings. FIFA naturally condemns any breach of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Our stance on the subject is perfectly clear and unequivocal. As world football's governing body, FIFA publicly assumes the social responsibility conferred to it by its position.
I do, however, recognise the leading role of sport, and of football in particular, to act as a catalyst in campaigns against the scourges of society all around the world. With this in mind, FIFA has established strategic alliances with international organisations with recognised objectives: UNICEF, WHO, ILO, SOS Children's Villages as well as many other NGOs in order to unite the power of football with the experience and competence of those who relentlessly strive to make this world a better place. The major social issues of our times, such as equality, peace, the rights of children, education and the environment have not passed us by – we are involved.
Consequently, we have decided to concentrate on three main messages for the 2006 FIFA World CupTM: the rights of children, peace and the fight against discrimination. We have developed special programmes in cooperation with a range of non-governmental organisations in order to promote these messages. FIFA currently supports a growing number of associated activities and will continue to pursue these objectives in the future.