Human Rights Watch, a prominent human rights organization, has called for a political boycott of the opening match of the World Cup, which will be held on June 14 in Russia. Kenneth Roth, the Executive Director of the organization, announced this in a special statement on Tuesday, May 22.
"World leaders should signal to President Putin that unless he changes track and acts to end atrocities by Russian and Syrian forces in Syria, they won’t be in their seats in the VIP box with him on opening night,’ said Roth.
Human Rights Watch Executive Director stressed that, by hosting the Cup, Russia hoped to achieve respect and win over global public opinion. However, despite the desire of millions to watch the match, the suffering of the peaceful population of Syria should not be forgotten.
Rebecca Harms, a German member of the European Parliament and expert on Eastern Europe’s "green" faction, led an earlier initiative to request that the governments of European countries not attend the World Cup in Russia. Harms said during a speech in Brussels on Friday, April 20 that the initiative has been supported by sixty deputies from sixteen EU countries, representing five of the nine factions of the European Parliament - including the largest factions, the European People's Party and the Social Democrats.