Tatchell calls for Olympic charter to be enforced
Human rights activist Peter Tatchell has demanded all nations competing in the London 2012 Olympics sign an anti-discrimination pledge, or face a ban.
The demand was made on Wednesday in an open letter written to the International Olympics Committee (IOC).
“The Olympics should be open to everyone, based solely on merit and without discrimination,” the letter reads.
“Any country that discriminates against women or ethnic, religious or sexual minorities should be disqualified from the 2012 Olympics.”
The letter further demands that the IOC make a public statement welcoming LGBT athletes to London 2012 and warning participating nations they must not discriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.
“In the absence of laws against homophobic discrimination, victimisation and bias against LGBT athletes is endemic in most competing nations,” Tatchell writes.
“In over 150 countries, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) athletes are forced to hide their sexuality in order to get selected and compete; otherwise they would be rejected and possibly face imprisonment.”
The letter goes on to quote the Olympic Charter.
“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 charter reads in part.
However Tatchell does not believe the Olympic Charter is enforced.
“Despite this laudable commitment, many nations deny equal opportunities to women and to ethnic, religious and sexual minorities. They violate the Olympic spirit of equality,” Tatchell writes.
Tatchell goes on to identify several nations that discriminate. He listed Saudi Arabia as providing almost no sport facilities for women and selecting only two token female athletes for London 2012.
Tatchell also said Iran held gender segregated sports competitions and forbids women athletes from having male coaches or participating in sport that involves physical contact with male sport officials.
“This social marginalisation and exclusion means that in many countries women and minorities have almost no chance of representing their country at London 2012, no matter how talented they are,” Tatchell writes.
The IOC is yet to respond.
The London 2012 Olympic opening ceremony will take place on Friday July 27.