HRC Blog

IOC Calls for Further Clarification on Russia’s Anti-LGBT Law

This morning, International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge stated he had received written assurances regarding Russia’s recently-passed anti-LGBT law, but wanted “clarifications before having the final judgment on these reassurances."  Yet just yesterday, Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko insisted that Olympic athletes would "have to respect the laws of the country" during the Sochi Games.  In June, the Russian government passed a law that criminalizes even the most modest gestures of support for LGBT people.
 
These statements from Russian Minister Mutko are alarming, to say the least. It seems that the Russian government fully intends to implement this heinous law during the Sochi Games, putting at risk athletes and international travelers, as well as the countless LGBT Russians who will continue to endure the law long after the last medal is won.
 
Last week, HRC president Chad Griffin called on the IOC to do more regarding the situation in Russia, explaining that “mere verbal assurances from the Russian government that foreigners will be exempt from their repressive laws are not enough.”
 
He has also written to the heads of the six major American film studios and the Motion Picture Association of America, as well as the CEO of NBCUniversal regarding the recently-passed Russian law, urging them to use their powerful influence to expose, and ultimately have the law repealed.
 
The law banning "propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations" was passed by Russia’s Federal Assembly and signed into law by President Vladimir Putin in June.  Under the guise of protecting children from "homosexual propaganda," the law imposes fines or jail time to citizens who disseminate information that may cause a "distorted understanding" that LGBT and heterosexual relationships are "socially equivalent." The fines are significantly higher if such information is distributed through the media or Internet.
 
Foreigners, such as those visiting Russia for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, will not only be fined but also face arrest and up to 15 days in jail, followed by eventual deportation, according to the new law.
 
Join HRC in calling on the IOC to speak out against the human rights abuses under way in Russia. Take action now.

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