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IOC president urged to make Principle 6 of Olympic Charter binding

Shame of Sochi 2014

LGBT activists are calling on the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ensure that following the Olympic Charter’s principle of non-discrimination, Principle 6, becomes a requirement for future Olympic hosts.

All Out, Athlete Ally and former Olympic diving champion Greg Louganis are calling on the president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to ensure that following the Olympic Charter’s principle of non-discrimination, Principle 6, becomes a requirement for future Olympic hosts.

Both organizations are calling on the IOC to:

  • Overhaul the application process to ensure host cities do not have discriminatory laws, including anti-gay laws.
  • Require selected host countries to agree not to introduce new discriminatory laws if they win the Games.
  • Consider submissions from human rights organisations as a vital part of the application process.

“IOC President Thomas Bach must learn the lesson from the anti-gay fiasco in Russia and ensure this never happens again. We are calling on Bach to make upholding the Olympic Principle of non-discrimination a binding condition for all future Olympic host applications,” said Andre Banks, co-founder and executive director of All Out, the international organization which has mobilized 1.9 million members and their social networks since 2011 to stop anti-gay laws in Russia. “Already Ukraine, where 4 anti-gay laws have been proposed in Parliament is in the running to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.”

Current IOC assessment of Olympic host city applications fails to ensure applicants do not have discriminatory laws – including anti-gay laws – that violate the letter and spirit of the Olympic Charter, particularly Principle 6.

“Hosting the Olympic games is an honor,” said Hudson Taylor, executive director of Athlete Ally. “It should only be bestowed upon countries that demonstrate a commitment to human rights and the principles of the Olympic Games. Future games cannot take place in countries with laws that undermine everything for which Olympic movement stands.”

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The selection process also fails to secure a commitment from selected host countries not to introduce new laws that discriminate or attack the dignity of the individual if they win the Games. Russia passed its infamous anti-gay law just months before the Olympics started and long after winning the IOC selection process. Finally, it does not integrate formal submissions from human rights organisations as a core part of the application process.

Principle 6 of the Olympic charter states, “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.” All Out and Athlete Ally launched the Principle 6 campaign last year to highlight the Olympic principle of non-discrimination and give athletes and fans a way to speak out against Russia’s anti-gay laws before and during the Games. More than 50 Olympians, including a dozen competing in Sochi, joined the campaign.

“Since 2011, All Out members are mobilized alongside Russian associations to stop the anti-gay laws that have been flourishing in the country,” said Banks. “Global sport institutions like the IOC and FIFA have a key role to play to fight blatant discriminations including anti-gay laws, which are violating their own institution’s principles.”

Russia will also host the FIFA 2018 World Cup. Qatar one of the 76 countries where it’s illegal to be gay will host the 2022 World Cup. On February 10th, Casey Stoney, England women’s football team captain who came out said “I won’t be going to Russia or Qatar to watch a World Cup because I wouldn’t be accepted there.” She added it is “incredible that these countries get World Cups and Olympics.”

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