The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is hoping to avoid future controversies after the damaging furore over Russia’s hosting of the Winter Olympics in Sochi.
According to LGBT rights website All Out, the IOC has announced in a letter to prospective host cities that it will be adding a new anti-discrimination clause to its host city contract.
In a letter from IOC Sports Director Christopher Dubi, the IOC stated that the changes to the host city contract “are the result of the experience gained by the IOC in previous editions of the Olympic Games.”
He explained that the changes are aimed at “addressing certain potential concerns for candidate cities and future host cities, in the spirit of good faith and cooperation, and taking into consideration certain comments made by the candidate cities.“
Dubi said that the new clause will include “the prohibition of any form of discrimination, using the wording of Fundamental Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter.”
Principle 6 states that, “Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”
The IOC was criticised by human rights organisations around the world for allowing the Winter Games to take place in Russia earlier this year in the wake of that country’s enactment of a discriminatory gay propaganda law.
In an All Out online petition in March, more than 80,000 people called on the IOC to add human rights provisions to the host city contract. In addition, a coalition of human rights organisations led by All Out, Athlete Ally, and Human Rights Watch, sent an open letter to IOC president Thomas Bach, urging the IOC to make these changes.
“This is a significant step in ensuring the protection of both citizens and athletes around the world and sends a clear message to future host cities that human rights violations, including those against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, will not be tolerated,” said Andre Banks, co-founder and executive director of All Out.
“This is a particularly important moment for the world’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens who face discrimination and persecution not only in Russia but in countries all over the world. We will continue working to make sure this change is powerfully enforced – these new rules must prevent a replay of Sochi.”
This clause will ensure that future host cities must abide by international human rights standards in order to host the games, including the protection of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens and athletes, said All Out.