Over 100 ‘Canadian Civil Society’ Organizations Call For Action on Sochi Olympics, Anti-Gay Russia

The Government of Canada should:

  • continue to speak out publicly against Russia’s anti-gay legislation and homophobic and transphobic violence being visited upon LGBT people in Russia, and continue to communicate its objections directly to Russian authorities at the highest levels;
  • add the sponsors of anti-LGBT legislation in Russia to the list of those banned from obtaining visas to enter Canada;
  • identify opportunities to proactively support LGBT rights advocates in Russia in defending basic human rights;
  • oppose the “traditional values” resolution being advanced by Russia at the UN, which is a patent attempt to cloak bigotry and hate in the legitimacy of a Human Rights Council resolution; and
  • use this opportunity to publicly announce its commitment to ongoing support for the UN’s recently- launched “Free and Equal” initiative for LGBT rights.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and International Paralympic Committee(IPC) should:

  • host Pride House in Sochi during the 2014 Winter Olympics and Paralympics;
  • speak out during the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games against anti-LGBT violence and against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, including legislative discrimination such as Russia’s; and
  • include explicit reference in their respective Charters to discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity as incompatible with the Olympic and Paralympic Movements, as is already done with grounds such as race, gender and religion. (We note and welcome that the Paralympic Movement has already included sexual orientation.)

The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) have authority over Canada’s representation at the Olympic and Paralympic Games. The leadership and athletic delegations of the COC and CPC should:

  • publicly and privately support, without reservation, any individual athletes, whether they identify as LGBT or not, who choose to use their opportunities at the Games (e.g., when accepting medals) to display their support for the rights of LGBT people;
  • issue a statement condemning homophobic laws and anti-LGBT violence in Russia;
  • participate visibly as the Canadian delegation in the Sochi Winter Pride events being organized by Russian LGBT activists;
  • offer to join the IOC and IPC in hosting Pride House at the Games; and
  • use the opening and closing ceremonies of the Games to visibly support LGBT human rights as a country delegation.

Corporate sponsors of the Sochi Games, including the top 10 sponsors named above, should:

  • publicly state their opposition to Russia’s homophobic legislation and anti-LGBT violence in Russia;
  • withdraw their sponsorship of the Games unless the Russian government abolishes the “anti-propaganda law” and guarantees freedom of expression, association, assembly and information, including for LGBT people; and
  • publicly redirect a significant portion of those sponsorship funds, through independent foundations and multilateral initiatives, to support the defense and promotion of LGBT rights, and human rights more broadly, in Russia.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), as exclusive Canadian broadcaster of the Sochi Games, should:

  • commit to reporting, before, during and after the Sochi Games, on human rights abuses in Russia, including against LGBT people, other minorities and political dissidents targeted by the Russian government.