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NZ Govt must send message to Russia over discriminatory laws

8 August 2013

NZ Govt must send message to Russia over discriminatory laws

The Government needs to support gay New Zealand Olympian Blake Skjellerup and call for the repeal of homophobic laws ahead of the Winter Olympics in Russia, said Green Party rainbow spokesperson Jan Logie.

Openly gay New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup plans to defy Russia’s recent ban of so-called "propaganda supporting” any "non-traditional sexual relations” if he is able to make the team for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

“There is growing evidence that recent Russian legislation which discriminates against the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community has sparked a growing spate of violent attacks on this community in Russia,” said Ms Logie.

“The Winter Olympics offers an opportunity for the global community to put pressure on Russia to meet its human rights obligations.

“New Zealand can use our lobbying power to call for the International Olympic Committee to remove the games from Russia unless they repeal these discriminatory laws in advance of the Sochi Games.

“Human rights are indivisible and inalienable; the entire framework of human rights is threatened when we allow the persecution of a minority.

“The New Zealand Government should not let the fact that it is currently negotiating a free trade deal with Russia stand in the way of taking a stand for human rights.

“New Zealand should be condemning in the strongest possible terms the recent retrogressive laws put through under the Putin Government.

“Our Government should also be doing all it can to make sure that brave New Zealand athletes from the LGBT community are safe when they are representing us overseas,” Ms Logie said.

Note: The Green Party asked other parties if they would support a parliamentary notice of motion this week;

“to move that this House note with grave concern the recent passing of legislation in Russia that criminalises freedom of association and advocacy for same sex couples within Russia whether they be citizens or not and state its hope and expectation that the New Zealand Government will urge other governments and the winter Olympics organising committee to ensure the safety, security and rights of all people regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Unfortunately the National Party refused to support this notice of motion despite supporting a similar notice of motion regarding laws against the LGBT community in Uganda.

ends

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