In his keynote speech to the IOC (International Olympic Committee) ahead of the opening ceremony of the Sochi Winter Olympics on Friday, UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon condemned the continued persecution of LGBT people in Russia.
Addressing the assembled IOC members, Ban Ki-moon reminded them that the theme of the UN’s human rights day last December was “sport comes out against homophobia,” reports The Guardian.
“We must all raise our voices against attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people. We must oppose the arrests, imprisonments and discriminatory restrictions they face,” he said.
“The United Nations stands strongly behind our own ‘free and equal’ campaign, and I look forward to working with the IOC, governments and other partners around the world to build societies of equality and tolerance.
“Hatred of any kind must have no place in the 21st century,” he added.
Despite claims from IOC President Thomas Bach that Russian Premier Vladmir Putin has given “assurances” that there will be no discrimination at the games, reports of attacks on gay people and censorship continue. Ban Ki-moon is due to carry the Olympic torch and meet Putin in Sochi later today.
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