Government and Prince Frederik speak out against Russia’s anti-gay law

International concern is rising that Russia’s anti-gay legislation may be used to discriminate against gay athletes and spectators during 2014 Winter Olympics

Noma unseated from its number one position (photo: Antissimo)
August 15th, 2013 12:01 pm| by admin
facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

The introduction of anti-gay legislation in Russia has sparked global condemnation and ignited a debate about whether or not to boycott the Sochi Winter Olympics.

Now Crown Prince Frederik, a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and the foreign minister, Villy Søvndal (Socialistisk Folkeparti), have responded to the urging of political parties to speak out against the laws that persecute sexual minorities.

“The law is highly objectionable,” Søvndal told Politiken. “It risks promoting discrimination and attacks against minorities in the Russian society and we have already seen examples of this. The law gives an official stamp of approval [to discriminate]. We will ensure that Russia upholds its international commitments.”

Søvndal added that he would raise this issue at the European Council meeting in September, where Russia is represented, and even bring it up directly with the Russian foreign minister.

Russia passed a law in June outlawing “homosexual propaganda” that targets minors. The vague law effectively outlaws the public support of homosexuality and makes it punishable with 15 days of prison and a fine of up to 170,000 kroner.

In an email to Politiken, Crown Prince Frederik wrote that the IOC believes in the right to participate in sport without discrimination.

“If individual groups are discriminated against it would be a breach of the Olympic charter, the Olympic spirit and not least the contract that each host country makes with the IOC. The IOC president has made this clear to the Russian hosts,” Crown Prince Frederik wrote.

It is unclear whether the law will be enforced during the Games and whether openly gay spectators and athletes could risk punishment if found to be breaching the laws. While the IOC has stated that it expects the Russian government to put the laws on hold, a Russian MP responsible for writing the law, Vitaly Milonov, countered that the government wouldn’t have the authority to do so.

The government has yet to make any statements about whether the anti-gay legislation will influence whether or not they will attend the Sochi Games next year.

Last year, the former culture minister, Uffe Elbæk (Radikale), was under pressure to boycott football's European Championships in the Ukraine over the treatment of its former prime minister, Yulia Timosjenko, who was sentenced to seven years in prison for “abuse of power”.

The charges were widely seen as politically motivated, but Elbæk decided to attend the competition in order to meet and show support for activist and opposition groups.

Noma unseated from its number one position (photo: Antissimo)
World’s 50 Best Restaurants: Noma falls to third place
After spending four of the last five years in first place, Noma has droppe...
EADP have developed a spacecraft capable of deflecting an asteroid with very short warning time (photo: Urhixidur)
Armaged some funding! Danish NGO collecting funds for asteroid protection
The Danish NFGO, the Emergency Asteroid Defence Project (EADP), is currentl...
The pharoahe is ready to kill it with his rhymes (Photo: Krik Barvender)
Early-June music: In the hands of the pharoahe
Pharoahe Monch Wed 3 June, 22:00; Pumpehuset; 200kr Pharoahe Monch, a 42-...
More Copenhageners are ready to spend the big bucks on their holiday (photo: iStock)
Copenhageners travelling the most this summer
When it comes to forking out for a holiday somewhere, Copenhageners have th...
It might look like a bit of old rock, but it's a record breaker (official press photo)
World record-breaking piece of amber in Copenhagen
This week, House of Amber and Copenhagen Amber Museum are celebrating their...
Bayern Munich starlet Pierre Emile Højbjerg is on the team (photo: Michael Lucan)
Danes unveil strong under-21 team for the Euros
Denmark is arguably entering its best-ever squad in the Under-21 European C...