IOC Urged to Update Principle 6 to Support Equality at Future Olympic Games During 127th Session in Monaco
Washington, D.C. – Human Rights First today applauded an International Olympic Committee (IOC) initiative to amend the nondiscrimination principle (Priniciple 6) of the Olympic Charter to include discrimination with regard to sexual orientation, and urged passage of this proposal as part of the 127th IOC Session taking place in Monaco on December 8-9. The call came in a letter to American IOC member Anita DeFrantz, asking her to support the passage of Proposal 14 of the Olympic Agenda 2020, calling for the IOC “to include non-discrimination on sexual orientation in the 6th Fundamental Principle of Olympism,” and also to take steps to add discrimination based on gender identity to the proposal.
“The recent move to incorporate Principle 6 into the Host City contract process is one we welcome, but we remain concerned that this change will not have a meaningful impact until Principle 6 is amended to explicitly include all types of discrimination that are incompatible with the Olympics,” wrote Human Rights First’s Shawn Gaylord. “We are concerned that this proposal was not drafted more broadly to include discrimination based on gender identity and we also urge you to take all possible steps to work towards this goal.”
In a positive move, earlier this year the IOC voted to include the non-discrimination clause in the host-city contracts, requiring host cities to agree that they will not discriminate against people in accordance with Principle 6. As Principle 6 is currently written, it does not include sexual orientation or gender identity explicitly in the list of categories that cannot be discriminated against, leaving the door open for interpretation with regard to its applicability to laws and policies that discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) people. During the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russian authorities arrested dozens of LGBT activists, allies, and journalists in an attempt to silence voices of dissent. Following the conclusion of the games, Human Rights First worked with nineteen members of the House of Representatives and a broad-based coalition of human rights organizations to urge the IOC to mandate equality for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, at future Olympic Games.
This week’s IOC session in Monaco comes as the parliament of 2022 Olympic host contender Kazakhstan plans to introduce a draft bill banning public expression related to homosexuality, inspired by the infamous Russian propaganda bill, and to pass amendments to the country’s Marriage and Family code barring known homosexuals from holding public office or serving in the military. Additionally, several Kazakh members of parliament are calling for DNA blood tests to identify LGBT Kazakhs. Human Rights First urges the IOC to ensure that city’s selected to host the Olympic Games respect the human rights of all of their citizens.
“Anti-gay initiatives that are underway in countries like Kazakhstan would be violations of universal human rights and infringe upon the Olympic ideals of inclusion and freedom from persecution,” added Gaylord.