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Northern Ireland Sport & Human Rights Forum

The Northern Ireland Sport & Human Rights Forum was established in May 2019, coinciding with the launch of the Declaration on Sport and Human Rights – drafted by the Commission and the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council.

At the time of the Forum’s launch, five major sports bodies in Northern Ireland had already adopted the Declaration: the Belfast Giants, Irish Football Association, Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council, Ulster GAA, and Ulster Rugby. This has grown over time and now we have over 15 sporting bodies who have pledged to have pledged to embed and champion human rights within their sports.

The Forum has been established as a multi-stakeholder platform to facilitate the exchange of knowledge and good practice on sport and human rights issues. The current chair is Conal Heatley, Business and Operations Manager at Commonwealth Games Northern Ireland.

Through the Forum, members have covered a range of topics including:

  • Women & girls in sport
  • Disability accessibility & inclusion
  • Racism
  • Gender identity
  • Mental health
  • Safeguarding
  • Homelessness
  • Crime prevention

Become a member

We would love to hear from sporting bodies and organisations who are interested in joining the NI Sport & Human Rights Forum. The Forum meet three times annually.

If you would like further information about the Forum, or wish to attend an upcoming meeting, please contact

Transgender Inclusion in Grassroots Sports

The ‘Including Transgender People in Grassroots Sport’ resource has been produced by Gendered Intelligence and funded by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. This booklet is about transgender inclusion and experiences at grassroots level. It sets out some of the key information it is useful for grassroots clubs, teams, and other grassroots sporting organisations to know, along with some basic tips to help you make your sport, club or team more welcoming to transgender people.

Accompanying this is a separate ‘Transgender Inclusion in Sport: A Legal Analysis’ document which has been produced by the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. It provides a human rights analysis of rights relevant to the inclusion of transgender persons participation in sport. It looks at the legal rights of transgender persons under international and domestic frameworks and assess what the law may mean for those seeking to participate in sporting events and for those who organise them.

Sport HR Declaration

Listen to our Rights at the Finish Line Podcast!

People. Sports. Human Rights. Stories. It's that simple. Join the NI Human Rights Commission as they showcase the people & sports promoting human rights for all. If you interested in sports, human rights & how both can be used to make a positive impact in our society, this is the ideal podcast for you. We get to know members of the NI Sport & Human Rights Forum who have signed up to the Declaration of Sport and Human Rights. Hearing about them personally, we hear what drives them to promote human rights in their sports, and the good work in the community.

Sport & Human Rights

Sport can be used to advance the human rights of everyone, and provides an opportunity to promote a set of universal values amongst everyone involved in sport – from participants and fans to workers, local communities and governments.

The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission has been working in the field of sport and human rights since 2016, building partnerships with sporting bodies and promoting the importance of embedding human rights in sport. During its tenure as chair of the Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (2015-18), the Commission developed a draft declaration on sport and human rights which set out national human rights institutions’ commitments to protecting and promoting human rights through sport. This became the London Declaration on Sport and Human Rights, and was adopted by members of the Commonwealth Forum in London in 2018.

The Commission continues work to forge partnerships between national human rights institutions (NHRIs) and their national sporting bodies, developing a workshop for NHRIs and their Commonwealth Games Associations alongside the Commonwealth Games Federations’ annual meeting in September 2019. This came as a result of the Commission’s long-standing partnership with the Northern Ireland Commonwealth Games Council and the Centre for Sport and Human Rights, which was established in 2018.

Want to know more?

If you would like to know more about sport and human rights, or the work of the NI Sport & Human Rights Forum, please contact
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