Russia pressured to reword Olympic Truce after ignoring LGBT equality

Posted by Rhuaridh Marr
September 15, 2013 9:28 AM |

Russia will "promote social inclusion without discrimination of any kind" during its 2014 Winter Games.

After pressure from the international community and the United Nations, Russia has redrafted its Olympic Truce, a UN resolution adopted every two years before the start of an Olympic games. The Truce originated in Ancient Greece, and was an agreement that, during the Olympic Games, the host city would not be attacked, and participants and spectators would be safe while attending the games. Revived by UN resolution in 1993, it is a mostly symbolic gesture by the host city to adhere to and embrace the meaning of the Truce before and during the Games.

Russia's initial draft, in mentioning who would be safe while at the games, included "people of different age, sex, physical capacity, religion, race and social status," but specifically did not mention LGBT people. This isn't unprecedented, as the London Olympic Games in 2012 had a similar Truce that did not mention LGBT people. However, in light of the crackdown on freedoms and rights in Russia for the LGBT community, international pressure has been focused on Russia to ensure there is as much protection as possible for participants and spectators who wish to attend the Games next year.

Although Russia has maintained that its law banning propaganda that promotes non-traditional sexual relations will not affect athletes or visitors to the Olympics, UN member states coerced Russia to include stronger wording in its Truce in order to satisfy any remaining worries. Russia's new draft still doesn't explicitly mention LGBT people, but it does state that it will "promote social inclusion without discrimination of any kind." The UN and member states are said to be satisfied that this sufficiently blankets LGBT people under the symbolic protection of the Truce.

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