World, Sports, Rio 2016

UN calls for 'Olympic Truce' as Games loom

'The Olympic spirit calls on us to rise to the challenge,’ Ban says

UN calls for 'Olympic Truce' as Games loom The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivers a speech during the ceremony of receiving the Olympic torch. (Mohammad Hannon - Anadolu Agency)


The head of the United Nations has called for an "Olympic Truce" to stop ongoing violence around the world in anticipation of the Games starting early next month.

"I call for a worldwide cessation of hostilities in observance of the Olympic Truce during the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro," Ban Ki-moon said in a statement late Friday.

"While such an ambitious vision may seem impossible to realize, the Olympic spirit calls on us to rise to the challenge," he said.

Ban also referenced boxing legend and 20th century great Muhammad Ali. "The late Olympic gold medallist and United Nations Messenger of Peace Muhammad Ali embodied the power of sports to move the global public. He once said, 'I use boxing because it’s a platform to get to people.' Muhammad Ali showed how champion athletes can champion justice," Ban said.

If recent history is any indication, the UN chief's call for a truce might be too much to ask.

Hundreds of victims were killed in Daesh attacks in the Middle East and Europe within the last month. Most occurred during the holiest month on the Islamic calendar, Ramadan, and even during Eid, one of the two annual Islamic festivals.

Just 10 days after Ramadan ended, a treacherous coup attempt in Turkey killed more than 230 people and caused nearly 2,200 injuries.

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