Egypt & Russia blocked as UN votes to affirm Olympic LGBT protection


Egypt and Russia have been thwarted in their efforts to water down the UN’s recognition of LGBT equality at next year’s South Korea Olympic Winter Games.

On Monday, all 193 UN member states adopted the Olympic Truce Resolution that includes a reference to the anti-discrimination clause of the Olympic Charter, known as Principle 6.

Prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation was first included in Principle 6 in 2014 by the International Olympic Committee.

The UN Truce, which is negotiated every two years ahead of the Olympics, promotes “civility among nations” during the Olympics and the one week preceding and one week following the Games.

In 2015, Brazil led successful efforts to include the amended Principle 6 reference in the UN Truce for the first time, ahead of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

This year, however, the reference to Principle 6 came under attack, with Egypt and Russia trying to remove the reference in the Truce. These efforts were, however, unsuccessful due to cross regional support.

“While Egypt and Russia tried to export and sanction discrimination against lesbian, gay, and bisexual Olympians, they failed,” said Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International.

“States decided to send a clear message that there is no place for discrimination at the Olympics. We’re thankful for civil society and for the mobilisation that took place to ensure that reference to Principle 6 stayed in the Truce. Today, we were victorious.”

Hudson Taylor, Founder and Executive Director of LGBT sports rights group Athlete Ally, also applauded the adoption of the resolution. “The decision to keep an explicit reference of Principle 6 within the Olympic Truce Resolution is an important step for the full dignity and protection of the LGBTQ community around the world,” said Taylor.

In a joint campaign by OutRight Action International and Athlete Ally ahead of the vote, professional athletes all around the world came out in support of the inclusion of Principle 6, releasing a letter calling on states to respect non-discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In a press release circulated last week, US Olympian and WNBA star Breanna Stewart stated: “Sport and society thrive when we embrace the diversity of our world. The Olympic spirit is grounded in inclusion, fair play and solidarity, and the explicit mention of Principle 6 within the Olympic Truce Resolution sends a clear message that we take these values seriously.”

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