News / Europe

Russian Gay Rights Groups Seek More Pressure on IOC

FILE - Anti-gay rights activists stand on a rainbow flag during a protest by gay rights activists demonstrating against a proposed new law termed by the State Duma, the lower house of Parliament, as "against advocating the rejection of traditional family values" in central Moscow, June 11, 2013.
FILE - Anti-gay rights activists stand on a rainbow flag during a protest by gay rights activists demonstrating against a proposed new law termed by the State Duma, the lower house of Parliament, as "against advocating the rejection of traditional family values" in central Moscow, June 11, 2013.
Reuters
Russian gay rights advocates called for increased pressure on the International Olympic Committee ahead of the 2014 winter games in Sochi in light of Russia's anti-gay laws, telling a gathering on Wednesday that anti-gay violence is increasing.
 
Russia has come under mounting human rights criticism internationally since passing an anti-gay propaganda law earlier this year that opponents contend curtails the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in the country.
 
Panelists at a Human Rights Watch-sponsored event at New York's Empire State Building cited what they said is a disturbing trend in which homophobes lure gay men through online dating sites into videotaped humiliation and beatings.
 
“It's a green light for nationalistic groups to make violence against LGBT people,” Maria Kozlovskaya, a program manager at the Russian LGBT Network, said of the Russian law.
 
The advocates said there is a need to increase pressure against the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to speak out against the conditions of human rights in the country. The games, the first to be held in Russia since 1980, are scheduled to run Feb. 7-Feb.23.
 
A number of movements supporting Russian LGBT people have recently launched in the United States. Singer Melissa Ethridge and a host of celebrities - including James Franco, Edward Norton and Madonna - launched Uprising of Love, an awareness campaign on International Human Rights Day on Tuesday.
 
An LGBT sports group, Athlete Ally, began a movement called Principle 6 - referring to the Olympic charter provision banning discrimination - with support from Olympians and professional athletes in the United States. Tennis star Andy Roddick and the National Basketball Association's first openly gay player, Jason Collins, are among those listed as supporters.
 
“What is important for us is to not turn this campaign into a campaign against Russia,” said Anastasia Smirnova, coordinator at the Russian LGBT Network. “It is a campaign for equality. It is a campaign that promotes the idea of human dignity for LGBT people in Russia, but it is not a campaign against the country.”
 
European Union Commissioner Viviane Reding said on Tuesday she would not attend the games “as long as minorities are treated the way they are under the current Russian legislation.”
 
Attempting to dampen international backlash, Russian President Vladimir Putin said in October that gays would be welcome in Sochi. The International Olympic Committee announced earlier this week that Russia would set up protest zones at the games.

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Spacei
X
September 17, 2014 4:20 AM
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 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.
Video

Video Washington DC Mural Artists Help Beautify City

Like many cities, Washington has a graffiti problem. Buildings and homes, especially in low-income neighborhoods, are often targets of illegal artwork. But as we hear from VOA’s Julie Taboh, officials in the nation's capital have come up with an innovative program that uses the talents of local artists to beautify the city.
Video

Video US Muslim Leaders Condemn Islamic State

Leaders of America's Muslim community are condemning the violent extremism of the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. Muslim leaders say militants are exploiting their faith in a failed effort to justify violent extremism. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Bedouin Woman Runs Successful Business in Palestinian City

A Bedouin woman is breaking social taboos by running a successful vacation resort in the Palestinian town of Jericho. Bedouins are a sub-group of Arabs known for their semi-nomadic lifestyle. Zlatica Hoke says the resort in the West Bank's Jordan Valley is a model of success for women in the region.


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