Russian Officials Commit Human Rights Violations While Denying Human Rights Are Being Violated
August 8th, 2013
Black is white, up is down, Russia’s anti-gay laws are in compliance with “international obligations”:
On Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry’s rights envoy, Konstantin Dolgov said: “As to the criticism of our law banning homosexual propaganda we have to reiterate that this criticism is absolutely invalid and groundless”.
He added: “It is an attempt to accuse us of violating international obligations that do not exist”.
He also said that Russia is a party to a number of international conventions that prohibit discrimination on any grounds, including the UN’s convention on the Rights of the Child.
“This convention aims in part to protect children from harmful information, and we believe that promotion of homosexuality could harm them. Therefore, we are fulfilling our obligations, but our critics attempt to accuse us of violating some obligations that don’t exist. It is a misleading substitution of notions”.
Contrary to assurances from the IOC, Dolgov issued a veiled warning to athletes and visitors to the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi:
Mr Dolgov also stressed that all athletes and guests of the Olympic games in Sochi would be treated “with maximum hospitality,” but Moscow was expecting them to respect the Russian legislation, including the notorious ‘gay propaganda’ law.
…He added: “No one is banning a sportsman with a non-traditional sexual orientation from going to Sochi. But if he goes out onto the street and starts to make propaganda, then of course he will be brought to responsibility.”
And what about the athlete who wears a rainbow pin or carries a flag inside the Olympic venues? Well the New York Times yesterday suggested that the IOC and US Olympic Committee will have Russian’s back there.
Meanwhile, Russia s scrambling to clamp down on internal criticism of the Sochi Olympics. Marat Guelman was fired as director of the Perm Museum of Contemporary Art and his offices were raided after he backed the controversial “Welcome! Sochi 2014” exhibit by Vasily Slonov. Perm was the site of Perm 36, one of the more infamous gulags under Joseph Stalin. And Human Rights Watch says that Russia is going after those reporting on irregularities surrounding the games’ construction projects :
Human Rights Watch has documented government efforts to intimidate several organizations and individuals who have investigated or spoken out against abuse of migrant workers, the impact of the construction of Olympics venues and infrastructure on the environment and health of residents, and unfair compensation for people forcibly evicted from their homes. Human Rights Watch also documented how authorities harassed and pursued criminal charges against journalists, apparently in retaliation for their legitimate reporting.
“Trying to bully activists and journalists into silence is wrong and only further tarnishes the image of the Olympics,” said Jane Buchanan, associate Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “One of the non-negotiable requirements of hosting the Olympics is to allow press freedom, and the authorities’ attempts to silence critics are in clear violation of that principle.”