Rights groups urge IOC rethink on choosing Games hosts

Rights groups urge IOC rethink on choosing Games hosts

The International Olympic Committee has been urged by a coalition of human and gay rights groups not to award future Games to nations which have discriminatory laws.

Several groups, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, penned a joint letter to IOC president Thomas Bach coinciding with the last two days of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

The IOC has been criticised for allowing the Games to go ahead in Russia after president Vladimir Putin introduced anti-gay legislation in the build-up to the Olympics, sparking widespread condemnation.

And human rights groups have called on the IOC to consider its own Olympic charter when choosing future hosts.

The letter read: “As Russia’s controversial Winter Games come to a close, we write to you to ensure that future Olympics faithfully reflect the principles of the Olympic charter, including Principle 6, which forbids discrimination of any kind.

“There cannot be a truly successful Olympics where there exist state-sponsored discrimination and other major human rights violations.

“Countries with laws designed to discriminate against or attack the dignity or human rights of any individual or group are clearly inconsistent with the Olympic Charter and should not be given the honour and privilege of hosting the Olympic Games.

“By consistently enforcing the standards set forth in the Olympic Charter, the Olympic Movement could indeed be a force for good.”

The letter also called on the IOC to amend the wording of Principle 6, which forbids discrimination on ethnic, national, religious and racial grounds, to include a reference to sexual orientation and gender.

The IOC has said it will consider the wording of the principle during a meeting to be held in December.

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