Russia: ‘Olympic Truce’ altered after pressure from United Nations to include gay equality

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Russia has altered its version of the “Olympic Truce” to a more inclusive statement after UN members criticised the original draft for leaving out gay people, although it still fails to mention sexual orientation specifically.

The Olympic Truce is usually adopted as a UN resolution every two years, before each round of the Olympic Games, as a guideline to celebrate peace and a “friendly competition.” It is generally seen as a goodwill gesture, and is not binding.

The New York Times reports however that controversy arose this year because Russia’s draft promised to include “people of different age, sex, physical capacity, religion, race and social status,” but not different sexual orientations.

Members of the UN criticised this occlusion in light of the notorious anti-gay laws in Russia passed in June, which critics say is part of a broader crackdown of gay citizens in the country.

After pressure from countries around the world, Russia was eventually persuaded to reword the truce resolution – to “promote social inclusion without discrimination of any kind.”

Despite still specifically leaving out gay people, UN representatives said they felt the statement was broad enough to suffice.

Iakovos Iakovidis, a Greek representative to the UN, said: “I think it’s a very good outcome, and I think the Russians want to have a consensus to adopt this.”

Iona Thomas, a spokeswoman for the United Kingdom Mission for the UN, also said: “Along with like-minded partners, the United Kingdom is keen to see principles of nondiscrimination included in the Olympic Truce resolution.”

Earlier this week, US House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi responded to Vladimir Putin’s statement on all people being created equal under God by saying the Russian President needs to include gay citizens too.

“What I found interesting was the closing,” Pelosi said. “He says when we pray to God he judges us all as — I don’t know exactly was his words are — but he says that we are all God’s children. I think that’s great. I hope it applies to gays and lesbians in Russia as well.”

Earlier this month the topic was raised by US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron in discussions with campaigners against the backdrop of the G20 summit in St Petersburg, Russia.

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