For many months the Russian LGBT Sports Federation has been planning the first edition of the Russian Open Games (ROG), scheduled to take place from 26 Feburary to 2 March 2014 in Moscow.
ROG are open to all adults, and have nearly 300 registered participants from Russia and abroad who will compete in nearly a dozen sports. The event is hosted by a legally registered entity, and respects the Russian anti-"gay propaganda" law: the events are held in private, with only registered participants attending. No minors are admitted.
Despite this, the ROG face opposition, with called by homophobic legislators to ban the event. Now, hours before the event is to open, organizers are facing catastrophe, as the venues scheduled for many events, including the host hostel, are cancelling reservations, unofficially due to government pressure.
Days after the close of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics, and days before the opening of the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Games, this rejection of the human right to take part in sport is unacceptable.
We urge Sir Philip Craven, president of the International Paralympic Committee, to refuse to attend the Sochi Games unless the Russian Open Games are allowed to take place in full security for all participants.
Article 1 of the IPC Code of Ethics states:
Members of the Paralympic Family shall abide by and respect the IPC Code of Ethics at all times and, in particular, adhere to the following ethical standards:
Fight against any discrimination on the basis of race, gender, nationality, ethnic origin, religion, philosophical or political opinion, marital status or sexual orientation.
As a member of the Paralympic Family, Sir Philip is obliged to reject the discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation that is taking place in Russia, host of the 2014 Sochi Winter Paralympic Games. Sir Philip and the members of the IPC are among the few people outside Russia to be able to ensure that the Russian Open Games take place.
We urge you to use your full influence with Russian authorities to ensure that the Russian Open Games take place, and to make clear that failing this, you will not attend the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Games.