- November 8, 2013
Post submitted by Tushar M, HRC Global Engagement Fellow
In a first from the United Nations, the General Assembly passed a resolution calling for international truce around the time of the Sochi Olympics to be held in February 2014, specifically asking Russia to “promote social inclusion without discrimination.” Thomas Bach, head of the IOC, was quoted saying that “sport has to enjoy responsible autonomy. And politics must respect this sporting autonomy” in yet another set of mixed messaging around the discussions surrounding the growing violence against LGBT people in Russia since the passing of the “homosexual propaganda” law earlier this year.
In the wake of international attention and voices being raised against the ongoing state-sponsored homophobia in Russia, this resolution comes in at a time when Russian officials are on one hand promising that everyone will be welcome to the Sochi Olympics, regardless of sexual orientation, while on the other hand are contradicting their statements with proclamations that no special suspension of the anti- “homosexual propaganda” law will take place just for the Olympics.
The resolution was passed with a consensus on Wednesday and called for a “no fighting” international truce which begins a week before the Sochi Olympics start, and finishes a week after the Paralympics end. President Putin and his officials have been repeatedly trying to assure a free and open Winter Olympics, but with the increase in violent homophobic attacks on individuals and organizations, most of which go uninvestigated, it is clear that the ground reality couldn’t be more different. The IOC has refused discussions regarding the propaganda law and safety during the Olympics with LGBT activists in Russia, stating that it wasn’t the best of places to engage in such a discussion, clearly showing the inconsistency in its official statements which give a green signal to the Sochi Olympics, and what the IOC itself believes is the actual scenario.
"Sport embraces all segments of society and is instrumental in empowering people with diverse backgrounds, while fostering tolerance and respect for all people no matter what they look like, where they come from, where they worship or whom they love," U.S. delegate Elizabeth Cousens told the United Nations.
The HRC has been calling out for international attention around Russia and has just launched the Russian version of its iconic “Love Conquers Hate” t-shirt. 100% of the net proceeds from sales will go towards supporting Russian LGBT rights groups and advocates. People around the world, including actors, actresses, politicians and athletes, are speaking out on social media against Russia's heinous anti-LGBT laws. Stand with us! Share a photo of yourself on Instagram with the hashtag #LoveConquersHate.