News / Europe

Putin Signals Gay Rights Debate Must Not Cloud Games

Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Sochi, Feb. 7, 2014.
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (R) meets with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte in Sochi, Feb. 7, 2014.
Reuters
President Vladimir Putin made clear on Friday that he believed the Sochi Winter Olympics were not the place to debate Russia's treatment of gays.
 
Putin used a meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, whose country has criticized Russia on gay rights, to underline the message that politics and sport should not be mixed.
 
“I know you always give much attention to humanitarian issues and adherence to human rights,” Putin told Rutte in Sochi, shortly before the Games opening ceremony. “We are always open to discussion.”
 
But the Russian leader added that he had seen a television report in which he said a man in a gay club in the Black Sea resort told journalists: “Leave us alone. Sport is sport. The Olympics are the Olympics. Let's focus.”
 
“The less aggression there is over [gay rights] from both sides, the better,” he quoted the person as saying.
 
“I second the assessment that this person made in every way,” Putin said.
 
The Sochi Games are vital to Putin's legacy and he has staked his personal and political reputation on their success, but he faces an outcry abroad over a law banning the spread of “gay propaganda” among minors.
 
Putin says the law is needed to defend young people. Critics say it curtails the rights of homosexuals, and gay rights activists say it is fuelling anti-gay violence in Russia.
 
Putin says Russia does not discriminate against homosexuals and will not do so during the Olympics, but he was booed on a trip to the Netherlands last year.
 
U.S. President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German President Joachim Gauck are not attending the Games, and the U.S. delegation includes openly gay representatives.
 
Rutte decided to attend the Games despite a petition signed by 38,000 people protesting against the high-level Dutch delegation, which includes King Willem-Alexander, and in spite of boycott calls by Dutch gay rights defenders.
 
Rutte said last month that his country had concerns about the humans rights situation in Russia but that it was better to engage in dialog than stage a boycott.
 
His visit follows a difficult year in relations with Russia, including the assault of a Dutch diplomat in Moscow by attackers who scrawled the letters LGBT - standing for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender - in pink lipstick on his hall mirror.

You May Like

Mood Tense Ahead of Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, No voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve and do not want to take a risk by endorsing independence More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
February 07, 2014 12:47 PM
Has the winter Olympics turned sex Olympics? What is this thing about sex and gay issues at the games? I think the people are there to take part in games not sex. Who is making all this noise? People should know that this a devilish propaganda by the Devil himself using people who must not let others hear anything else but sex and sensuality. This is horrible! What happens to decorum? What about morality? Why are people not discussing essential things that sustain life and living, why is it sex all the time? We see hand of the Beast in it; don't know what you see or who you are. 666, 999, the antichrist?


by: Casandra Lee from: US
February 07, 2014 11:00 AM
"Putin Signals Gay Rights Debate Must Not Cloud Games..." - Idiot.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid