By Duncan Mackay at the Windsor Atlântica Hotel in Rio de Janeiro

Protests about gay rights in Russia overshadowed preparations for Sochi 2014 ©AFP/Getty ImagesA new coalition of human rights and sports groups, as well as trade unions, have written to International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach urging them to ensure they make sure host cities have it enshrined in their contracts that they protect labour rights and free speech. 

The Sport and Rights Alliance (SRA) want the IOC to ensure they implement anti-discrimination measures and labour standards, improve transparency, and promote good governance, all proposed as part of Agenda 2020 in December. 

"Too often major sports events have seen people forcibly evicted from their homes to make way for infrastructure, workers exploited, campaigners locked up, the environment damaged beyond repair and notoriously opaque bidding processes," the letter sent on the eve of the three-day meeting of the IOC's ruling Executive Board said. 

"The recommendations in the IOC's Agenda 2020 are a chance to change that and ensure human rights, the environment and anti-corruption measures are central to all stages of the Olympic Games, from bidding, through to the development and delivery phase to final reporting."

The SRA consists of a number of organisations, including Amnesty International, FIFPro - World Players' Union, Football Supporters Europe, Human Rights Watch, the International Trade Union Confederation, Supporters Direct Europe, Terre des Hommes, and Transparency International Germany.

They are demanding mega-sporting events respect human rights, including children's and labour rights, the environment, and anti-corruption requirements at all stages of the process -from bidding through construction, preparations to host events, and the hosting of the events themselves.

Human rights have increasingly moved to the centre of preparations for major events, with protests about Russia's record on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights before Sochi 2014 and the treatment of migrant workers in Qatar as that country continues to get ready for the 2022 FIFA World Cup overshadowing both events. 

There have been widespread protests about Qatar's treatment of migrant workers helping the country prepare to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup ©AFP/Getty ImagesThere have been widespread protests about Qatar's treatment of migrant workers helping the country prepare to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup ©AFP/Getty Images

The SRA wants the IOC to include in its bidding criteria for future Games labour and human rights standards on freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, protection from discrimination in employment, and the elimination of forced and child labor.

The Alliance has demanded the IOC to adopt "robust due diligence procedures to ensure that the Games do not cause or contribute to human rights abuses in the hosting or staging of an Olympic event."

All these standards should not be based on goodwill, but should be non-negotiable and binding for all stakeholders, the letter to Bach said.

In addition, the IOC should develop from the very beginning an independent monitoring mechanism to make sure promises made in the bidding phase and fixed in the host city contract are adhered to over the lifetime of the event.

"At the Beijing [2008] and Sochi Olympics, the exploitation of migrant workers, repression of critics, and corruption cast a long shadow over the sports," said Minky Worden, director of global initiatives at Human Rights Watch.

"The IOC is at a crucial moment to signal to would-be hosts that rights abuses, corruption, and repression have no place in the Olympic Movement."

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