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Petition calls on Olympic body to review host country selection

Thousands demand Principle 6 amendment to end anti-gay discrimination

Members of the All Out advocacy group have bombarded the International Olympic Committee with messages demanding that countries with anti-gay laws not be selected to host future Olympic Games. Credit: deutschland.de

Members of the advocacy group All Out are calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to review its rules to ensure that countries with anti-gay laws are not allowed to host the Games.

Thousands have signed a petition and sent messages to the IOC, urging it to amend Principle 6 of the Games Charter to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; ensure that the bid process has requirements that host countries do not have laws that discriminate against groups, including LGBT people, in violation of international law; and include specific human rights pledges in host city contracts.

The campaign coincides with the IOC’s consideration of reforms for its Olympic Agenda 2020, to be held in Monaco later this year.

All Out’s executive director, Andre Banks, says that throughout the Sochi Games, the IOC “largely ignored” Russia’s anti-gay laws and the violence they provoke. “There must be basic, minimum standards to ensure that Olympic host countries protect athletes, tourists and citizens of every country,” he contends.

Banks acknowledges that no country has a stellar human-rights record but says countries with discriminatory laws that curtail human rights are at odds with the Olympic Charter.

Members of the US Congress have made a similar submission to IOC president Thomas Bach, asking for an amendment to Principle 6.

The US lawmakers write, “While we understand that politics are not a component of the Olympic Games, we believe amending Principle 6 to further uphold ideals of non-discrimination will illustrate how the Olympic Games achieve their fundamental principle of ‘plac[ing] sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind.’”