BCCLA joins call to action on human rights at the winter games in Sochi

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Vancouver- The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) is joining a Canada-wide coalition of civil society organizations calling on the Canadian government and the Canadian and International Olympics and Paralympics Committees to stand up for human rights at the Sochi 2014 Winter Games.  World-wide momentum is building against Russia’s on-going and intensifying attacks against lesbian, gay, bisexual,transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people.  The upcoming Games are focusing the world’s attention on this human rights crisis.

Today an open letter was released calling on Canada and the Olympics’ Committees, corporate and media sponsors to speak out against legislative hate-mongering and LGBTQ+ violence.  The letter calls for the unreserved support of athletes who choose to display their support for the rights of LGBTQ+ people at the Games and opposition to attempts to legitimize bigotry and hate in the name of “traditional values.”

“Canada must seize this opportunity to advance human rights at the 2014 Games”, said Josh Paterson, Executive Director of the BCCLA.  “Human rights defenders from across the country are issuing a unified set of demands to support LGBTQ+ people in Russia and around the world.  The eyes of the world are on Sochi in 2014 and our government and the Olympics community must stand publicly committed to human rights, diversity, freedom of expression and freedom of association.”

Currently in Russia, LGBTQ+ people and their supporters risk prosecution for distributing “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations” and the police can arrest tourists and foreign nationals that they suspect of being LGBTQ+ or “pro-gay” and jail them for up to 15 days before deporting them.

Read the letter here