Some with a boycott, some with support. The UN chief will attend the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday he would attend the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics next month with the message that the event “must be an instrument of world peace,” Reuters reports.

Some with a boycott, some with support. The UN chief will attend the opening of the Beijing Winter Olympics

His confirmed presence comes as the United States has launched a diplomatic boycott to protest the human rights situation in China, which has been joined by Australia, Britain, Canada and Japan. China denies human rights violations and condemns the boycott as a betrayal of Olympic principles.

“The Olympics are an extremely important event and it is an event that symbolizes the role of sport in bringing people together and promoting peace,” Guterres told reporters.

“In this strict context and without any political dimension, I intend to be present at the opening – with this message that the Olympic Games must be an instrument for world peace,” he added.

Human rights groups and U.S. lawmakers have called on the International Olympic Committee to postpone the Games and move them away if China does not end what the United States calls genocide against ethnic Uighurs and members of other Muslim minority groups.

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