25 June 2012 #Employment
With the worsening situation in Syria, it was not unexpected that the BBC reported at the end of last week that the head of the Syrian Olympic Committee - General Mowaffak Joumaa – has been banned from attending the London Games. However the controversy of the decision lies in the fact that the International Olympic Committee’s stance has been one of avoiding political interference - and it is the IOC that has the final say on members being banned.
The decision was made last week by Home Office, Foreign Office and Department of Culture officials who had been considering the General’s application for some time. It is understood that the travel ban is on the basis of General Joumaa’s links to Bashar al-Assad`s regime which has been condemned worldwide for its violent response to pro-democracy supporters.
In terms of official comment a Home Office spokeswoman said it would not comment on individual cases. The Foreign Office said it was a matter for the Home Office. Previously the Foreign Office has said:
"Entry will also be refused where an individual`s presence would not be conducive to the public good. Where there is independent, reliable and credible evidence that an individual has committed human rights abuses, the individual will not normally be permitted to enter the UK."
Despite the controversy of the British government’s decision to ban General Joumaa travelling to the UK, the situation in Syria is such that it seems highly unlikely that the IOC will not rubber-stamp the decision and try to overturn it. The International Olympic Committee is expected to ratify the decision.