Saudi Arabia forbids female athletes to participate in the Olympic Games

Soon the best male and female athletes of the world will walk at the “Parade of the Nations”, at the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in London. However, only men will participate in Saudi Arabia’s team, as the country still forbids women from playing sports or making any decisions about their own lives. Despite the pressure exerted by the International Olympic Committee and the UK (as the host country), Saudi Arabia’s failure to send women is a clear violation of the Olympic Charter, which states that “[Any] form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.” Saudi Arabia should therefore be barred from the games, in the same way that the apartheid-era South Africa was in 1964 and the Taliban-run Afghanistan in 2000. Consistency is important if the rules are to be upheld and equality is to prevail.

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