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Human Rights Watch Demands Olympic Committee Protect LGBT Olympians From Russian Anti-Gay Bill

Sochi logoIn a letter sent to the International Olympic Committee yesterday, the New York City based Human Rights Watch organization expressed growing concern that Russia's new antigay law may indeed be used to target LGBT Olympians during the upcoming 2014 Olympics in Sochi. While the IOC issued a statement earlier this week attempting to quell such fears, HRW is pushing for further clarification and is demanding the IOC take proactive steps to ensure discrimination does not occur: 

"Although news reports this week quoted a spokesman saying that the IOC is "concerned" about the draft law being passed and reiterated the IOC's "long commitment to non-discrimination against those taking part in the Olympic Games," we urge the IOC to take additional steps to send a clear signal to the Russian authorities that discrimination of people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity is sharply at odds with Russia's human rights and Olympic commitments.

We also encourage you to obtain guarantees from the Russian authorities that no homophobic legislation will be adopted or implemented and that the authorities will refrain from any additional discriminatory legislative initiatives or policies that discriminate against lesbians, gays, bisexual, and transgender people. We also urge you to press the authorities to state publicly that, as Olympic Host, Russia will ensure, without distinction, the safety and the freedom of expression and association of all athletes, coaches, fans, and others who will attend the Sochi Games."

The letter comes on the heels of a Russian LGBT group calling for a boycott of the Sochi Olympics. In its current form, the homophobic draft law applies not only to Russian citizens, but to anyone who publicly addresses homosexuality while in Russia. Foreigners - possibly including athletes - who violate the law, such as speaking about their sexual orientation in public, run the risk of being fined, arrested for up to 15 days, and deported from Russia. 

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Comments

  1. Good for them! And, by the way, Turkey is equally problematic

    Posted by: chris | Jun 20, 2013 7:44:21 PM


  2. The IOC is homophobic.

    Posted by: Jason | Jun 20, 2013 8:28:33 PM


  3. I must agree with Jason, the IOC has displayed a pattern of homophobia over the years. The even sued The Gay Games back when their name was the Gay Olympics forcing the name change, but permit other groups such as the Special Olympics to use the term in their names. If that is not a clear-cut example of their, at least historic, homophobia, then I do not know what would qualify.

    Posted by: nick | Jun 20, 2013 8:45:16 PM


  4. The only lesson the Russian government will learn is for countries to boycott the game or move the venue to another LGBT friendly country. Vancouver and Calgary already have existing facilities and experience to host the game.

    Posted by: bambinoitaliano | Jun 20, 2013 9:17:46 PM


  5. I would not put it past Putin to arrest any gay athlete, such as Weir, if they were seen to be at the top of their game and could possibly best a Russian athlete. Gay propaganda could be something as simple as a rainbow pin.

    Posted by: terry | Jun 20, 2013 9:25:30 PM


  6. "I must agree with Jason, the IOC has displayed a pattern of homophobia over the years. The even sued The Gay Games back when their name was the Gay Olympics forcing the name change, but permit other groups such as the Special Olympics to use the term in their names."


    If you've a taste for irony, note that counsel for the plaintiffs was Vaughn Walker, subsequently US District Court Judge who so eloquently upheld our right to marry in California against the H8ers.

    Posted by: Rich | Jun 20, 2013 10:09:38 PM


  7. The IOC has long been one of the most corrupt organizations on the planet. All they care about is MONEY. Whichever city offers the most bribes to the IOC gets the Olympics - this has been proved to be true in countless undercover stories - some of which were broadcast on the BBC in the UK after conversations with members of the IOC were recorded using secret cameras.

    The IOC does NOT care about ANYONE - gay or straight. They just care about MONEY. They swoop in on the Olympic city, take all the cash and then taxpayers in those cities are left with the debt which usually takes years to clear up. It is a TOTAL LIE by the IOC when they say the Olympics is good for business in a city - most cities are left in massive debt once the Olympics has ended. It is one of the biggest financial cons of all time.

    Posted by: Icebloo | Jun 20, 2013 11:53:20 PM


  8. Boycott Russian goods.
    Boycott the Russian Winter Olympics and any other shared international event.

    Posted by: Derek Williams | Jun 21, 2013 1:08:38 PM


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