Russia’s top diplomat in charge of Human Rights and the Rule of Law has called “outrageous and extremely surprising” a letter in which 11 US senators demanded the IOC re-evaluate the Russian law banning gay propaganda towards children.
“The corresponding explanations on Russian laws concerning this sphere have been repeatedly brought to American legislators’ attention. It appears that these explanations have remained unheard so far,” Konstantin Dolgov said in official comments.
The plenipotentiary emphasized again that the Russian ban on promoting non-traditional sexual relations to minors was not designed for discrimination against sexual minorities, but exclusively for the protection of children from information that is inappropriate and hazardous for their age.
“It is not violating any of Russia’s obligations in the international sphere. The only thing banned by this act is the aggressive imposing of non-traditional sex-related ideas to the underage,” the diplomat said, adding that the law carried only administrative responsibility.
Dolgov also said that homosexuality is criminally punishable in 76 countries in the world, and Russia is not among them. “The laws in a number of these countries even order the death penalty for this. But these harsh laws do not prevent our Western partners from developing fully-fledged relations with these countries,” the official noted.
“We would also like to recommend that the advocates of sexual minorities’ rights in Russia pay attention to the situation in this sphere in their home countries more often. The USA poses as a vanguard of the international gay rights movement but over a thousand crimes against gays are registered in this country every year. And rights campaigners claim this to be the tip of the Iceberg as official statistics fails to register many of such crimes,” Dolgov said.
In the end, the Russian HR plenipotentiary promised that all athletes and guests would be welcome at the Sochi Olympics regardless of their sexual orientation, but expressed hope that the guests would respect the laws of the receiving country as provided by the Olympic principles.
On Friday last week a group of 11 US senators addressed the President of the International Olympic Committee saying that the reputation of the games would be damaged if Russian authorities harass LGBT athletes or spectators. The letter also claimed that the Russian law was violating the Olympic Charter.
The Olympic Charter has no provisions about homosexuality, but it bans any discrimination.