Olympic chiefs urged: Ban anti-gay countries

150+ nations permit discrimination against LGBT athletes

London – 12 July 2012


“The Olympic Charter prohibits all discrimination, and this includes homophobic discrimination. Any country that discriminates against women, ethnic or religious minorities, or lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) athletes should be disqualified from the 2012 Olympics,” said human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell, Director of the London-based human rights advocacy organisation, the Peter Tatchell Foundation.

The Olympic Charter states:

“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”

“Why isn’t homophobia, biphobia and transphobia being challenged by the Olympic authorities? It is wrong that in over 150 countries LGBT athletes are forced to hide their sexuality in order to get selected and compete,” added Mr Tatchell.

“The International Olympic Committee and London Olympic organisers should require all competing nations to sign a pledge that they do not discriminate on the grounds of gender, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation. If they refuse to sign, they should be denied participation in the games.

“I appeal to Olympic chiefs, Jacques Rogge and Lord Coe, to make a public statement that LGBT athletes are welcome at London 2012 and that participating nations must not discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity. We need a signal from the top that homophobia and transphobia are contrary to the Olympic spirit and Charter.

“Many nations discriminate against their sportspeople on the grounds of gender, race, religion and sexuality, in violation of the Olympic spirit of equality. This discrimination takes the form of a lack of equal access to sporting facilities, competitions and the Olympic selection process.

“It would be impossible for an openly gay athlete to be selected for the Olympic squad of most countries. They would face rejection because of their sexual orientation and, in many caes, imprisonment.

“Nearly 80 countries still criminalise homosexuality. Several have the death penalty.

“Over 150 nations have legal systems that, in the absence of laws against homophobic discrimination, permit victimisation and bias against LGBT citizens and athletes.

“The government of Saudi Arabia provides almost no sports opportunities for women. It has selected only one token women athlete to compete in the London Olympics. Iran practices systematic discrimination against its Kurdish, Arab and Baluch citizens. India’s dalits (so-called untouchables) are, in effect, Olympic outcasts.

“Many countries deny equal opportunities to ethnic, religious and sexual minorities. This social marginalisation and exclusion means that no matter how talented they are, athletes from minority communities have almost no chance of representing their country at London 2012.

“The Olympics should be open to everyone, based solely on merit and without discrimination.

“Sport should have no boundaries or exclusions. There should be a level-playing field for all competitors, regardless of their background.

“The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) have, so far, failed to ensure that all competing nations comply with the non-discrimination clauses of the Olympic Charter. It is not too late for them to do so. It’s their duty to uphold the Olympic Charter,” said Mr Tatchell.

Olympic Charter


Fundamental principles of Olympism

4. The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

6. 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.

7. Belonging to the Olympic Movement requires compliance with the Olympic Charter

IOC website: http://www.olympic.org

LOGOG website: http://www.london2012.com

For further information:

Peter Tatchell, Director, Peter Tatchell Foundation
Email: [email protected]