Glasgow 2014 Human Rights Policy: A Synopsis

The Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony

By Grant Jarvie

Glasgow 2014
Glasgow 2014 was to become the first Games to adopt a human rights policy.
The approach can be captured around four themes, humanity, equality, destiny and sustainability.


In 2013 the organising committee for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games approached the Scottish Human Rights Commission (SHRC) asking for advice about human rights issues These included five key areas:
• Forced evictions – would people be made to give up their homes to make way for venues for athlete’s accommodation?
• Forced labour and trafficking – would people be brought into Scotland, trafficked through Scotland or experience exploitative labour conditions.
• Procurement – would the money spent on the Games be used to buy goods and services from businesses that uphold high standards of human rights protection?
• Policing and security- would the public’s security be protected while respecting personal freedom?
• Legacy plans- would Scotland become a beacon to future Games when it comes to upholding high standards of human rights protection?


The commitment around respecting others as people was premised upon being legally compliant and upholding the spirit of legislation designed to protect individual rights.

The key instruments of legislation being the Human Rights Act 1998 and the Scotland Act 1998 which in terms of domestic legislation gave effect to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Three sub themes identified for action under this general theme were – labour, employment, health and safety, security and respecting freedoms.

Living Wage
As a living wage employer, the organising committee aimed to promote a living wage throughout the supply chain.
Health and Safety
The health and safety vision was to provide a harm-free environment. It had three objectives: to install at all levels a culture that health and safety was to be the first condition in everything that was done; to create a legacy of systems and processes that could be used in future Games and to encourage people to take the practices learned, because of Glasgow 2014, into their future work and home environments.
The Scottish Government delegated responsibility for all aspects of security for the Games to the Chief Constable of Police Scotland while overall accountability remained with the Scottish Government.
Games for Everyone
Glasgow 2014 was positioned as a Games for everyone and that respected freedoms for everyone. Multi-faith facilities and cultural dietary requirements were catered for in the Athlete’s village; multi-faith quiet spaces for prayer and reflection at venues and the accommodation of religious headwear was enabled; engagement within and between Glasgow faith communities and interfaith Games groups aimed to be welcoming throughout Games Time.

Sectarian and political chanting was not permitted in Games venues. The principle of legitimate peaceful protest in line with legislation was permitted. Ambush marketing was controlled through Glasgow Commonwealth Games Trading and Advertising Scotland Regulations 2013.

Glasgow 2014 wanted to send a message that sport was for everyone and to make Glasgow everyone’s Games.
• The sports programme was badged at the time as the most inclusive ever. Pride House was central to raising the profile of LGBT rights.
• An access, diversity and inclusion strategy was developed that had key strands which were: inclusive design and delivery service; inclusive and accessible communications; a diverse and aware Games workforce; supplier diversity and targeted engagement.
• Volunteers and paid staff were recruited from different background, cultures and career fields. The Games workforce received equality, diversity and inclusion training. Direct outreach and engagement with equality groups through sport was enabled.

Destiny was about contributing to improving the futures of the people of Glasgow, Scotland and the Commonwealth. Glasgow 2014 aimed to have an impact upon young people and sustainability.
• With education providers the education programme that accompanied the Games was aimed at young people aged 3-18 and used the Commonwealth Games as the context for learning.
• Lead 2014 a partnership between the Youth Sport Trust, sportscotland, and the OC aimed to harness the enthusiasm of Scotland’s young people to help create a future generation of sports leaders.
• A series of conferences were delivered by students from Scottish universities to young people from secondary schools to help the development and enhancement of leadership and volunteering skills.
• A partnership with UNICEF was formed to reach out to children in Commonwealth countries. In Scotland, UNICEF UK facilitated child rights education campaigns for children in schools, health settings and local government.

The objective was to stage a Games with responsible sustainability standards. This involved three things: to (i) minimise impact on the environment and, where possible, seek opportunities that will enhance the environment; (ii) create a new generation of sporting enthusiasts in Glasgow, Scotland and throughout the Commonwealth; and (iii) stimulate a positive social and economic impact from infrastructure development activities of the Games.

A procurement sustainability policy was forged. The importance of sound sustainability practices in the procurement processes was aimed at supporting the achievement of a wider Glasgow 2014 Environmental and Sustainability Policy goals.

The Games adopted The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) Model Code of Conduct. The stated approach was that the relationship between companies following the WFSGI Code and their suppliers, and in turn any sub- contractors involved in the production process of the Games must be based on trust, mutual respect and common values.

The production of a Human Rights Policy for Glasgow 2014 represented a step in the CGFs commitment to embed human rights within the governance, management systems, development, events, fundraising and marketing. The aim was to apply The Human Rights Policy not just to the CGF’s leadership and all the staff but further influence the expectations of partners and other key stakeholders as their activities related to the CGF.

Concluding Remarks
Taking a human rights-based approach to Scottish sport is about making sure that people’s rights are put at the very centre of policies and practices. When SHRC in 2013 asked Scotland to become a beacon to future Games when it comes to upholding high standards of human rights protection Glasgow and the CGF grasped the opportunity.

When review of the Scottish Sporting Landscape asked Scottish sport if it aspired to be a world leader on sport and human rights an opportunity was lost. The Scottish Government has attempted to place Human Rights and the Sustainable Development Goals at the heart of a Scottish Agenda. Brexit has reduced the layers of rights protection afforded to the UK, including Scotland.

The need for Scottish sport to work more closely with National Human Rights Associations has perhaps never been greater.

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