Havel lends signature to Olympics human rights appeal
Former Czech president Václav Havel has called for the International Olympic Committee to rethink its stance on athletes’ freedom of expression ahead of the Olympic Games in China, which start next week. The International Olympic Committee has urged athletes not to highlight human rights abuses in China while at the games, saying that such behaviour would constitute the spreading of political propaganda, which is banned by the Olympic Charter. On Thursday Václav Havel joined Archbishop Desmond Tutu in calling for the IOC to change its position. According to the public appeal of which Mr Havel is a signatory, ‘to speak of human rights is not politics; only authoritarian… regimes try to make it so’.