Target: Christophe De Kepper, Director General of the International Olympic Committee
Goal: Publicly express support for the LGBT community and ensure their safety during the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Russia
The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, just signed an anti-gay law that prohibits any public display of one’s homosexual orientation or any expression of support for the LGBT community, broadly. Russia is also the host country of the Winter Olympic Games 2014 that will be held in Sochi. Despite the growing hatred towards the LGBT community in Russia, many prospective gay Olympians from around the world are hoping to make their respective national Olympic teams. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), however, has not ensured that these athletes stay safe during the games.
Russia’s new anti-gay law prohibits any public display of pro-gay ideas. Regardless of whether a person is gay or not, people are not allowed to express their support for LGBT people publicly. Same-sex couples are not allowed any public displays of affection, like kissing or holding hands. Even wearing rainbow-colored clothes or accessories has been banned. Unfortunately these laws apply not just to Russian citizens but to foreigners as well. In the event of breaking this draconian law, a foreigner can be arrested for up to 14 days before being expelled from the country.
This recent development in Russia has been a growing concern for many people in the LGBT community, especially gay Olympians and their fans. Human Rights Watch (HRW), one of the lead international human rights groups, has already scolded the IOC for its lack of action on this issue. HRW has expressed its concern for the safety of foreign gay athletes and tourists and has criticized the IOC for failing to enforce their own charter and rules for protecting the LGBT community during the Olympic Games. HRW also has requested that the IOC release a public statement expressing support for LGBT people.
It is time to put pressure on the International Olympic Committee to protect the rights of LGBT athletes and their fans. Demand that the IOC expresses support for the LGBT community worldwide and provides protection for its athletes and fans during the Winter Olympic Games.
Dear Christophe De Kepper,
Vladimir Putin, president of Russia, recently signed an anti-gay law targeting anyone expressing support for the LGBT community within the country, including foreigners. The International Olympic Committee has not yet expressed its support for LGBT people publicly. Moreover, the IOC does not yet have a strategy to ensure the safety of gay athletes and their fans during the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
Russia has violated an international legal obligation to guarantee non-discrimination. I urge you to address this issue as soon as possible and operate according to the Olympic Charter’s belief in human dignity.
[Your Name here]
Photo credit: Pierre de Coubertin via wikimedia