2014 Sochi Olympic Games – what about LGBTI rights?
On the eve of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games, ILGA, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association reiterates its deep concern for the very harsh situation LGBTI people are suffering in Russia, where the anti-gay propaganda legislation came into force in June last year. The Sochi Olympic Winter Games could have been an excellent opportunity for Vladimir Putin’s Russia to advance in the recognition of human rights that lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex people are entitled to, an opportunity unfortunately wasted by reiterating support to a shameful law and by the heinous and slanderous remarks by Putin “welcoming” gays, while asking them “to stay away from the children”.
ILGA invites all countries sending delegations to Sochi to express their concern and raise the issue of the continuous denial of human rights of LGBTI people, who are every day targets of stigma, discrimination, harassments and state-sanctioned violence in Russia.
According to the Olympic Charter’s 6th Fundamental Principle, “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement”. The Olympic Games should therefore be a symbol of non-discrimination, an opportunity for union in sport spirit, an opportunity which the host country for one should use to show its adherence to these values.
ILGA Co-Secretary General Gloria Careaga said: “The Olimpics themselves are a symbol of fraternity and respect; the five rings embrace the principle of inclusion and respect of diversity. Many athletes have already arisen a rainbow to show their position against the Russian Anti-Gay Propaganda law, we expect president Putin to reconsider and open the doors to the recognition of the social contribution that sexual diversity brings to all societies”
ILGa Co-Secretary General Azusa Yamashita said: “As the Human rights situation and the developments in relation to the freedom of civil society n Russia continue to worry us, our solidarity goes not only to the LGBTI people, Olympians and Paralympians affected by the infamous “anti gay-propaganda” law, but to all Russians whose freedom and basic rights are violated. Billions of eyes will be on Russia during and after the games: we must work to ensure that future Olympic and Paralympic games promote equality, non-discrimination and social inclusion.”
For more information on the situation faced by LGBTI people in Russia since June 2013, when the “anti-gay propaganda law” passed, check this report from ILGA-Europe.