Russia and Egypt are fighting a resolution by the International Olympic Committee that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Since 2015, Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter has condemned anti-LGBT bias, but representatives from the two countries have issued an ultimatum at the U.N, where member nations are negotiating the Olympic Truce Resolution: Either LGBT protections are stripped from Principle 6 or they won’t sign the treaty.
“Egypt and Russia are not simply fighting over symbolic language but over the levels of violence governments are allowed to use against LGBT people,” said OutRight International’s Jessica Stern.
The ultimatum comes as attacks on LGBT citizens are escalating in both nations.
“After systematic attacks on LGBT people in their own countries, they are now setting their sights on promoting violence and discrimination in every country of the world,” says Stern. “The Olympics Games are supposed to be a time for sport, technique, pride and community, not for politicking, hatred and violence.”
After a rainbow flag was spotted at a concert in Cairo in September, Egyptian authorities launched a crackdown that has seen dozens of suspected homosexuals arrested and detained. Last week a bill was introduced to criminalize homosexuality and support for LGBT people.
In Russia, senior officials have called for jail time for violators of the country’s infamous anti-gay propaganda ban. The Russian government has also been criticized for turning a blind eye to the anti-gay purge in Chechnya.
Protections for LGBT people were originally added to the Olympic Charter in advance of the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi, after the country first instituted its ban.
Said Stern, “We cannot allow this type of bullying to target LGBT people or undermine the principle of global community.”