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    An interdisciplinary multi level approach to advance human rights in and through sport

    Yelamos, Gerard (2023) An interdisciplinary multi level approach to advance human rights in and through sport. PhD thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    Background Sport is a global socio-cultural phenomenon present across the world. Participation in sport-related activities is a human right captured in many human rights instruments. Likewise, sport can be used as a cost-effective tool to advance fundamental rights such as education, health and employment. The relationship between human rights and sport has received significant scholar attention in specific thematic areas, including the organisation of mega sporting events; safeguarding and remedy mechanisms; and athlete’s rights. However, there is little academic engagement in the exploration of more holistic factors such as the impact of sport policies and sport education to advance human rights. This thesis is a contribution to an emerging theme whose demand is increasing across the sport environment: the multi-level implementation of human rights in and through sport. Objectives This interdisciplinary multi-level research aims to answer the general research question: How and to what extent are human rights applied to sport policy and practice at international, national and local level? In order to answer this overarching question, the following research questions were devised: a) what is the nature of the relationship between human rights and sport policy in the literature? b) how can those shaping the sport environment increase awareness, understanding, and engagement with human rights treaties to be more accountable for human rights?; and c) what are effective ways to advocate for the application of a human rights-based approach to sport? In order to answer these research questions, specific objectives for each of the 5 studies included in this thesis were designed. Methodology An interdisciplinary multi-level approach to advance human rights in and through sport The ontological and epistemological approach adopted in this research is based on the critical realism perspective. Five independent but related studies were conducted using mixed methods approaches. The results of the studies were analysed and, through a process of retroduction, a theoretical model was developed to explain key generative mechanisms in the alignment of sport policy, human rights and education. Study one is a critical narrative literature review reporting on the status of sports policy frameworks in the UN system of relevance to the sport sector generally. Study two examined the relevance and significance of Physical Education, Physical Activity and Sport (PEPAS) in reporting mechanisms related to the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). A systematic document review of State Parties Reports (CEDAW n=100, CRPD= 133); List of Issues (CEDAW n=123, CRPD=84) and Concerns/Observations and Recommendations (CEDAW n=12, CRPD n=23) was carried out. This explorative analysis was undertaken under a macropsychology perspective, which studies how social structures and systems can ultimately promote, or hinder, psychological wellbeing (MacLachlan & McVeigh, 2021). Study three was also a documentary analysis to explore the relevance of PEPAS in three key document types from the Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) reporting mechanisms: State Parties Reports (n = 104), List of Issues (n = 126) and Concerns/Observations and Recommendations (n = 797). Study four is a case study based in Mauritius, in which eight semi-structured interviews with sport practitioners were run to learn more about their perception of the achievement of the new National Sport and Physical Activity policy. Finally, study five used three validated questionnaires on sport and human rights with a sample of 151 sport-related practitioners (56% male, 43% female and 1% An interdisciplinary multi-level approach to advance human rights in and through sport preferred not to say) ranging from age 18 to over 65 including teachers, coaches, and academics, with a view of measuring sport 'practitioners' understanding and application of human rights principles in and through sport. Results The advent of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development, the Kazan Action Plan, the WHO Global Plan on Physical Activity 2018 -2030 and allied developments across the sports movement provides an opportunity for revisiting and realigning the definitions and policy objectives of sport and human rights, as highlighted in Study one. Study two found that States Parties acknowledge the significance of sport and report to Treaty bodies on some key aspects, but they do not provide enough evidence or data to evaluate the impact of a legal framework into practice. Two causal mechanisms were identified to promote and modulate the implementation of human rights in and through sport: The national mechanism for reporting and follow-up to international and regional human rights bodies; and the socialization of human rights among the sport sector. Study three identified a low profile of PEPAS in State Party Reports, List of Issues and Recommendations arising from the CRC Committee. The results showed that there is scattered information on structural and process indicators, yet details on outcomes indicators are lacking. For this reason, a set of comprehensive indicators should be developed to ensure that children rights are being fulfilled. Study four identified six key areas to be considered in the development of an action plan to advance the implementation of national sport policies that are in line with human rights: 1) Sociocultural factors; 2) Sport policy; 3) Ongoing actions; 4) Barriers to participation; 5) Opportunities for improvement; and 6) Professional development. Finally, study five found that there are significative differences among sport professionals in the understanding and application of human rights in and through sport An interdisciplinary multi-level approach to advance human rights in and through sport based on biopsychosocial factors like: gender, age, educational level, personality traits and social dominance orientation. Also, three questionnaires were validated (the RITES-Q, the RITES-SE and the RITES-Challenges) and can be used to assess the knowledge and readiness of sport professionals towards human rights as well as their challenges experienced in applying a human rights-based approach in their practice. Discussion Based on the events and mechanisms identified in the previous five studies and the critical review of literature, the Rights In and Through Empowering Sport (RITES) model was developed. RITES is a theoretical model that highlights key multi-level mechanisms having an influence on the implementation of human rights in and through sport. It is relevant for any stakeholder involved in the field of sport, such as sport educators, managers and policy makers, to ensure that the breadth of their work aligns with human rights ethos. RITES is composed of seven elements that interact at different levels. At the macro level, there are 1) the contextual constraints and influences; 2) a national dialogue on human rights; and 3) sport-related policies. At the meso level, there are 4) monitoring and evaluation mechanisms; 5) capacity development; and 6) ongoing actions. Finally, all these elements take shape and are perceived differently by individuals at the micro level, therefore, 8) intersectionality should be taken into account. In order to facilitate and support the process of adoption and alignment of practice with human rights principles, two practical resources were developed: the RITES Exploratory checklist, a tool to support sport-related professionals to measure their level of understanding of the main elements of the RITES model; and the RITES Toolkit, a practical resource to reflect and develop capacity for embracing human rights in and through sports-based interventions. Conclusion An interdisciplinary multi-level approach to advance human rights in and through sport The RITES Model and associated resources aspire to encourage coordinated actions towards bridging the gap between sport and human rights. RITES can contribute to the advancement and establishment of a human rights-based approach in the sports environment by activating mechanisms that align forward-looking policies with workable implementation aspects. The broad overview presented in this thesis paves the way to other research initiatives to further explore specific aspects highlighted in this research, as well as to expand the comprehensiveness and application of the RITES model.

    Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
    Keywords: interdisciplinary multilevel approach; advance human rights; sport;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Science and Engineering > Psychology
    Item ID: 17280
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2023 14:05
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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