Russian activists ask IOC Bach to investigate gay law

Sat Nov 30, 2013 3:44pm EST
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PARIS (Reuters) - Gay rights activists on Saturday asked International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach to launch an independent investigation into the implications of Russian law during next year's Sochi Games, they said.

Bach met Russian activists during his two-day visit to Paris, IOC and gay rights organization All Out told Reuters.

"I can confirm a constructive meeting did take place," an IOC official said.

The activists, who had flown from Moscow after others failed to meet Bach in Sochi earlier this month, raised their concerns over the law passed in June that bans "gay propaganda" among minors.

The law has been denounced by critics and in the West as discriminatory and aimed at stifling dissent, prompting some calls for a boycott of the Games.

President Vladimir Putin, who has hoped to make the Games a showcase of modern Russia, last month said all people would be welcome in Sochi.

However, gay rights activists have reported a rise of violence toward their community and stressed on Saturday that the law was not compliant with the Olympic charter.

"During the meeting, the IOC was urged to launch an independent investigation on the legal implications of the anti gay laws ... as these laws are infringing the Olympic charter and notably the sixth principle of non discrimination," All Out said in statement.

A list of questions that could help steer the investigation was handed to Bach, they added, saying they were expecting the IOC to announce within days whether it would proceed.   Continued...

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach speaks during a news conference in Seoul November 21, 2013. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji