Olympic Committee member calls for Russia’s anti-gay laws to be respected

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

Lamine Diack, the President of the International Association of Athletes Federation (IAAF) and member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has said that he thinks there is “no problem whatsoever” with Russia’s anti-gay laws.

Mr Diack made the comments to reporters ahead of the World Athletics Championship that begin in Moscow at the weekend. He went onto say that “Russian law has to be respected” and that he felt “we’re not going to be disturbed by political problems.” He concluded by saying that he was “not worried at all.”

It is illegal to be gay in Mr Diack’s home country of Senegal where gay people face prison terms of up to five years.

The IOC has asked Russia for clarification over the anti-gay legislation that it has passed earlier this year and called upon Russia to live up to the obligations of the Olympic Charter and to oppose all forms of discrimination.

Many LGBT campaigners believe that athletes competing in the Sochi Winter Olympics next year could be subject to the anti-gay laws and are either calling for a boycott of the Games or for the Games to be moved to a different location.

Politicians including UK Prime Minister David Cameron and US President Barack Obama have expressed concern over the treatment of gay people in Russia and have promised to take up the issue with the Russian Government. However, both leaders have also stated they do not consider a boycott of the Games as the right course of action.

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin has said that the legislation shall not interfere with the smooth running of the Games, however Russian lawmakers have confirmed that the laws will not be suspended while the Games take place.