Ombudsman calls for sport to be considered a profession in Colombia

Archive photo of Colombian Carlos Mario Oquendo. EFE/Javier Lizon

Given the achievements of Colombian athletes in recent years, the Ombudsman’s Office has assured that it is necessary to accelerate the reform process of Law 181 of 1995. This means that the national government has been requested, by the intermediary of the Ministry of Sports, and the Congress of the Republic, for sport to be considered a profession in the country, in order to guarantee better socio-economic opportunities for national athletes.

“A reform of the national sports system would allow athletes to obtain rights in all its modalities and disciplines, making sport a profession and giving access to the guarantee of other fundamental rights. All of the above, through the protection of gender protocols and inclusion in sport. We have already demonstrated this with the work we are carrying out from our Delegate for the Protection of the Right to Sport. It is essential that the country understands the important role that sport plays in transforming social reality,” assured Carlos Camargo, Ombudsman.

In the opinion of the official, it is a law whose reform is overdue given the new institutionalization that has been consolidated in recent years, the great achievements of the athletes and the socio-economic impact of the sport, recreation and physical activity in the country.

The Ombudsman held a hearing to hear first-hand the concerns of representatives of high performance athletes, persons with disabilities and fans, sports administrators, representatives of coaches and parents of athletes. In this space, Camargo pointed out that, through the regional office of Santander, the national directorate of public defense and the delegates of sports, women and children, concrete actions have been taken to verify the rights on the field and a cycle of training programs was launched with an emphasis on human rights in the Santander Athletics League and its clubs.

In addition, it should be noted that in the first place the works will be coordinated with the Ministry of Sports, Indersantander, Inderbu, the office of the mayor of Bucaramanga and the office of the governor of Santander.

On the other hand, to guarantee respect for the rights of athletes in Colombia, the Office of the Ombudsman has launched the Strategy for the Promotion of Citizen Control in this scenario. The head of the entity explained that, “It is essential to work for the dignity of athletes and to ensure that sport is a right for all and not for the few. We intend to make citizens aware of the importance of sport in all facets of our lives, from birth to adulthood”.

Finally, he reiterated his call to all citizens to be vigilant in avoiding and reporting any type of violence against athletes. “From the office of the ombudsman, we will continue to accompany the victims and their families, and we will continue to follow the results of the investigations carried out by the office of the attorney general concerning the cases of alleged sexual abuse against certain athletes in this region of the de countryside”, Camargo remarked.

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