Stop Olympic Games from Furthering Social Inequality


Target: International Olympic Committee (IOC)

Goal: Ensure that Olympic host countries provide housing for low-income residents when they are displaced for construction of Olympic infrastructure.

Rio de Janeiro is in the midst of an affordable housing crisis, with over a million residents living in favelas, Rio’s notorious slums. With the upcoming 2016 Summer Olympics being held in Rio, the government has decided to build lavish infrastructure for the event, tearing down the favelas in the process, and creating more unaffordable housing. The Olympic Games, an international event where the host city showcases itself to the world, should never be the source of injustice for the city’s people. As the decision-making body of the event, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) must hold the host city to a higher ethical standard.

The 2016 Summer Olympics are the first Games to be held in South America and are being run by construction and real estate moguls. More of Rio’s wealth is being distributed to private construction firms, furthering the stark inequality that has persisted in Brazil’s second-largest city. The construction of the Olympic Village, which will house the competing athletes during the Games, was an opportunity to meet some of the affordable housing demands. Instead, the village will be turned into luxury apartments after the Games are over, selling for the equivalent of $700,000. Furthermore, 90 percent of Rio’s favelas have been torn down to build the Olympic Square, unjustly evicting its residents in the process. Similar problems have arisen from the infrastructure for the 2012 Summer Games in London and the 2004 Summer Games in Greece.

The IOC needs to hold host countries accountable for making ethical decisions. By signing the petition below, you are helping to urge the IOC to set an accordance with host countries, promising that their Olympic planning and infrastructure will go towards low-income housing, or the equivalent, depending on the city’s local needs.


Dear International Olympic Committee,

Rio de Janeiro’s affordable housing crisis is being worsened by Olympic-planning infrastructure. After you chose Rio to host the Olympics, not only were luxury apartments built in the midst of a persisting affordable housing crisis, but now, as residents of Rio’s favelas were unjustly evicted, even more are without homes.

As the decision-making body for the Games, you should translate the values of the Olympics to the cities in which the Games are held. Your site states that you bring the Olympic value of “universal fundamental ethical principles” to life, yet you miss the opportunity to make an impact in affordable housing, one of the most basic human rights. Greece’s venues from the 2004 Olympics lie abandoned, while Greeks face unemployment and homelessness, and London never fulfilled its promise to turn its Olympic Park into affordable housing after the 2012 Olympics.

The influence the Olympic Games holds on countries vying to host them has the potential to create social progress. Please take action to create an accordance with host countries, strictly enforcing that their Olympic planning meets local needs.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Caoscarioca via Flickr

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