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Sochi should not divert attention from violations of rights against LGBT people

“Tomorrow, when the Sochi Winter Olympic Games open with a display of music and lights, we should not forget that LGBT people across the country are facing increasing violations of their rights, intolerance and violence,” said Robert Biedroń (Poland, SOC), the General Rapporteur on the rights of LGBT people for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE).

“Cases of people being charged with spreading so-called homosexual propaganda are reported virtually every day by human rights defenders, social networks and the media. One of the latest cases involved a journalist charged with spreading propaganda because he reported on a teacher who was fired by his school due to his sexual orientation.”

Mr Biedroń continued: “Verbal and physical violence against LGBT people, in some cases leading to death, is also on the rise. Countless videos showing humiliation and beatings of young LGBT people have been posted on social networks in the last year, as an incitement to further violence. The Olympic Games, originally meant as a joyful celebration of sport and a reminder of the values of peace and solidarity, will be overshadowed by these disturbing developments.”

He concluded: “I call on the Russian authorities to ensure respect for the human rights of everyone and to comply with Assembly Resolution 1948 (2013) on Tackling discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. I intend to make a fact-finding visit to the Russian Federation in the coming months and discuss these issues with the authorities.”