New Zealand diplomat to protect LGBT athletes at Russian Winter Olympics

Joseph McCormick October 19, 2013
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A Diplomat has been tasked with protecting LGBT New Zealanders during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.

Concerns were raised ahead of the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, as a law was passed in Russia in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” to minors.

Foreign Affairs Murray McCully was asked by a delegation of opposition MPs to protect LGBT+ athletes during the games, Labour MP Louisa Wall said.

Mr McCully then confirmed that a consular advisor would provide assistance to New Zealanders in attendance in Sochi.

The decision was praised by Ms Wall, who said: “The right of all our New Zealand team members to fully express themselves within the context of the Olympics, an international institution of such esteem, is fundamental to our full participation as equal citizens in the world,

“This includes being proud to be who you are and unless one is fully able to express all they are, then this constraint can compromise the Olympic motto Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is Latin for `Faster, Higher, Stronger’.”

Concerns have also been raised by the New Zealand embassy in Moscow ahead of the games. The embassy continues to monitor the human rights situation in Russia.

At the end of September, the Olympic flame was lit in Greece, and the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) new president gave repeated reassurances, ahead of February’s Sochi Winter Olympics which have been surrounded by controversy over Russian anti-gay laws.

Previously, the IOC declared the “magnificent” Olympic venues in Sochi ready for the 2014 Winter Games. 

IOC Co-ordination Committee Chairman Jean-Claude Killy dismissed concerns over Russian anti-gay legislation. “As long as the Olympic Charter is respected, we are satisfied,” he said.

President Vladimir Putin signed legislation in June banning the promotion of “non-traditional relationships” toward minors.



Related topics: diplomat, lgbt athlete, New Zealand, New Zealand, sochi, Sochi Winter Olympics, Winter Olympics

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