Demand Russia abolish its new anti-gay laws before the Winter Olympic 2014.
What do I want them to do? Demand Russia abolish its new anti-gay laws—at the very least, for the duration of the Sochi Olympic Winter Games 2014—and ban them from hosting and participating in future Olympic Games so long as they do not comply.
The Russian federal government has made it illegal for both its citizens and visiting foreigners (tourists and Olympic athletes), as well as both Russian and foreign media, to publicly acknowledge any form of LGBT sexuality in a non-negative manner. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Russia is a signatory, everyone has the right to enjoy freedom from persecution in other countries. This violation of basic human rights is of intense international importance because Russia is hosting the upcoming Winter Olympic Games 2014 in Sochi, making it a major tourist destination. Furthermore, it is a violation of multiple sections of the Olympic Charter, which makes it very surprising that the International Olympic Committee has not taken any action on the matter yet, despite having received a letter from Human Rights Watch demanding that they enforce Olympic legality. The Russian government has made it clear to the media that these laws will be in effect and will apply to tourists, possibly even Olympic athletes.
The laws apply to subject matter referencing non-heterosexual orientation and/or non-cisgender identity: homosexuality, bisexuality, pansexuality, asexuality, transsexualism and transgenders. Since homosexuals alone are a ubiquitous 10% of the population of any country, regardless of ethnicity, Russia's population is an estimated 143 million people, and among them 14.3 million are gay, though not necessarily out. Furthermore, the same rule applies to bisexuals. Add to that value the number of other minorities targeted, and the heterosexuals willing to support them, and these laws end up persecuting the rights of at least 30 million Russians and, in time, countless tourists and temporary residents. Penalties include fines, in Rubles, of a value equivalent to $6,600 USD (American dollars) for individuals and $33,000 for organizations. Furthermore, it gives them the right to detain people for up to fourteen days before deporting them back to their home country. People are being arrested for so much as wearing fashion accessories with rainbow motifs. And in addition to the legal persecution, the Russian government and police force is deliberately turning a blind eye towards anti-gay hate crimes perpetrated by Russians.
In connection to the Sochi Winter Games, it is illegal for an Olympic athlete to acknowledge non-heterosexuality, unless they do so in an explicitly self-deprecating manner. Homosexual athletes will not be permitted to so much as kiss or hug their partners after winning a medal. And numerous tourists, volunteers, temporary residents working at the games and even athletes are expected to be detained and deported on suspicion of being gay or supportive of gays. It is time for the International Olympic Committee to take a stand, and shame Russia on the international stage so that a real difference can be made in the lives of millions.
It's also important because this petition is an academic assignment for which I am required to get 50+ signatures by Friday, July 19th, 2013.
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