Olympic Committee President: We are content with reassurances from Russia over anti-gay legislation

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has released a statement saying it is content with the reassurances given by Russia over an anti-gay law signed in June for the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

The statement came in a response to an open letter from Russian Deputy Prime MInister Dmitry Kozak today, who promised that gay people would not be discriminated against but then went onto defend the gay “propaganda” law by stating that it applied to all persons so therefore couldn’t be considered “discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.”

In the response Jacques Rogge, the President of the IOC said that the Committee had received “strong reassurances” from the Russian Government and it was clear “everyone will be welcome at the Games regardless of their sexual orientation.”

The statement went on to say: “Russia has committed itself to comply strictly with the provisions of the Olympic Charter and its fundamental principles, according to item 6 of which “any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”

The letter from the Russian Government does not cover whether or not the laws shall apply to athletes and tourists attending the Games.

The IOC has guaranteed that no one shall face discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation, but in the wake of Sweden’s Emma Green Tregaro’s protest against the anti-gay laws at the World Athletics Championships last week the IOC have reiterated that political protests are not permitted in sports venues.

Russia’s interior minister last week confirmed that the anti-gay laws shall be enforced during the Sochi Games next year despite reassurances given by President Putin that the new laws will not interfere with the Games.

President Vladimir Putin signed the law in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors, a move that has been criticised as part of a broader crackdown on Russia’s gay community. Other laws banning the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples, and one which enables organisations receiving funding from abroad to be fined as “foreign agents”, were also passed.

The laws have so far sparked controversy among LGBT activists, with some calling for a boycott of the 2014 Games. Others have also called to boycott Russian vodka