Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Rwandan singer amongst terror plot suspects

Read more

DEBATE

What's Putin's Plan? Kiev Accuses Russia of Terrorism

Read more

FOCUS

Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

Read more

WEB NEWS

Chile: Online mobilization to help Valparaiso fire victims

Read more

ENCORE!

Art, sex, money, memory and manga

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Spat over Iran's UN ambassador hampers thawing relations with US

Read more

FOCUS

China trade deal: Is Taiwan's identity under threat?

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

'Call it a caretaker government'

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria's Battles

Read more

  • Frantic search for South Korea ferry passengers continues

    Read more

  • Crunch talks on Ukraine in Geneva

    Read more

  • Algeria heads to the polls: ‘this election has nothing to do with us’

    Read more

  • Man executed in Texas for triple murder

    Read more

  • Scandal-hit French doctor Jacques Servier dies

    Read more

  • Belgian head of wildlife reserve shot in eastern Congo

    Read more

  • Stagehand of God? Maradona's legendary goal inspires a play

    Read more

  • US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism

    Read more

  • N. Korea not amused by London hair salon's Kim Jong-un ad

    Read more

  • Real Madrid beat old foes Barcelona to lift Copa del Rey

    Read more

  • France's new PM targets welfare in drive to cut spending

    Read more

  • Campaigning against Bouteflika's re-election... in France

    Read more

  • Brazil club Mineiro cancel Anelka signing after no-show

    Read more

  • Syria 'torture' photos silence UN Security Council members

    Read more

  • Paris laboratory loses deadly SARS virus samples

    Read more

  • More than 100 schoolgirls kidnapped in northeast Nigeria

    Read more

  • New York police disband unit targeting Muslims

    Read more

  • 'Miracle girl' healthy after seven-organ transplant in Paris

    Read more

  • Paris police memo calling for Roma eviction ‘rectified’

    Read more

  • Burgundy digs into France's bureaucratic 'mille-feuille'

    Read more

  • French court drops ‘hate speech’ case against Bob Dylan

    Read more

  • Algeria rights crackdown slammed ahead of election

    Read more

  • Iraq closes notorious Abu Ghraib jail over security fears

    Read more

  • In ‘Tom at the Farm’, Xavier Dolan blends Hitchcock and homoeroticism

    Read more

Europe

UN chief berates anti-gay discrimination as Sochi begins

© AFP

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-02-06

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon joined activists in condemning discrimination against gays in a speech to the International Olympic Committee on Thursday, as rights and security concerns persist a day before the Winter Games open in Sochi, Russia.

Ban said: "Hatred of any kind must have no place in the 21st century."

Russia, hosting the Winter Games for the first time, has come under mounting criticism since the government passed an anti-gay propaganda law last year which critics say curtails rights of homosexuals and discriminates against them.

Ban did not specifically address the situation in Russia, but his strong statements – made in Russia just one day before the start of the Olympics – carry strong symbolic force.

Ban Ki-moon: "We must all raise our voices against attacks on lesbians, gays..."

"We must all raise our voices against attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people," Ban told the International Olympic Committee (IOC) session in the Black Sea resort on Thursday. "We must oppose the arrests, imprisonments and discriminatory restrictions they face."

International outcry

Russian President Vladimir Putin has defended the law as protecting minors and has said homosexuals will not be discriminated against during the Sochi Olympics. Sochi Games officials have said protests to oppose the law had no place in the city during the Olympics.

But athletes and activists are far from convinced that this law and continued crackdowns on protestors are harmless.

More than 200 leading international authors including Salman Rushdie, Margaret Atwood and Jonathan Franzen slammed Russia's anti-gay and blasphemy laws as a "chokehold" on creativity in an open letter to Britian’s Guardian newspaper on Thursday.

In New York, pop star Madonna joined Russian group Pussy Riot in speaking out against Putin during Amnesty International’s “Bringing Human Rights Home” on Wednesday. The singers focused on the case of eight Russian demonstrators who will be sentenced later this month after being arrested at a protest in 2012.

Security concerns

Russian President Vladimir Putin declared the country "ready" on Wednesday, two days ahead of the official opening, yet for many in the international community, questions remained over both rights issues and security.

Washington has voiced concerns about security after two deadly December suicide attacks in the southern Russian city of Volgograd and a continued stream of threats from Islamist militants in the volatile northern Caucasus region.

The US government warned American and foreign airlines Wednesday that terrorists could try to hide explosives in toothpaste tubes on Russia-bound flights.

‘Olympic truce’

Perhaps speaking to these security concerns, Ban also urged an observance of an “Olympic truce” in his speech to IOC and appealed for warring parties around the world to lay down arms.

Citing conflicts in Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, Ban said: “I repeat my call, again and again, for all warring parties to lay down their weapons during the games.”

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS, AFP and AP)
 

Date created : 2014-02-06

  • RUSSIA

    Putin allows designated protest zone at Sochi Olympics

    Read more

  • RUSSIA

    Second deadly blast hits Russian city of Volgograd

    Read more

  • USA

    Obama sends gay icon Billie Jean King to Sochi games

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)