The International Olympic Committee announced that the Olympics locale in Sochi is “magnificent” and that Russia’s anti-LGBT laws will not affect the Olympic Charter. However, concerns persist regarding the treatment of LGBT citizens outside the Olympic grounds.
“Everything is really magnificent,” said IOC Co-ordination Committee Chairman Jean-Claude Killy during a news conference on September 26.
“The Olympic Charter states that all segregation is completely prohibited, whether it be on the grounds of race, religion, color or other, on the Olympic territory. That will be the case, we are convinced. Another thing I must add: the IOC doesn’t really have the right to discuss the laws in the country where the Olympic Games are organized. As long as the Olympic Charter is respected, we are satisfied, and that is the case.”
Russia implemented a law banning any forms of homosexual propaganda on June 30. The laws are enforced to protect the youth and maintain Catholic Orthodox values.
“Regarding this law, if people of traditional sexual orientation spread propaganda of non-traditional sex to children, then they will also be held accountable,” said Sochi Olympics deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak in a press release. “So there is simply no need to talk about discrimination.”
Because of the law, several advocacy groups have boycotted the Olympics with some requesting to change the location.
“If this law doesn’t violate the IOC’s charter, then the charter is completely meaningless,” HRC president Chad Griffin said in a press statement. “The safety of millions of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) Russians and international travelers is at risk, and by all accounts the IOC has completely neglected its responsibility to Olympic athletes, sponsors and fans from around the world.”
Griffin noted that Killy made his comment a day after 10 LGBT advocates were arrested in Sochi.
In August, IOC president Jacques Rogge said, “everyone will be welcomed at the Games regardless of their sexual orientation” and said he received “strong reassurances from the Russian government.”
LGBT retired basketball player John Amaechi said that the “Olympics shouldn’t even be in Russia in the first place” considering the Olympic Charter has seven principles of human dignity.
“The practice of sport is a human right,” reads Article 4 of the Charter. “Every individual must have the possibility of practicing sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”