Paralympics chief: No need for rights assurances

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 11, 2014 at 7:48 am •  Published: March 11, 2014
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SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Countries bidding to host the Olympics and Paralympics should not be compelled to provide assurances about human rights standards, according to the head of the International Paralympic Committee.

The buildup to the Olympics and Paralympics in Sochi saw rights groups protesting the Russian law banning so-called gay "propaganda" among minors. A coalition of human rights groups called on the International Olympic Committee to require future host nations to commit to not introduce laws that would violate human rights.

IPC President Philip Craven, who is also a voting member of the IOC, believes it is hard to spell out which rights a country must adhere to.

"There are so many things that could, maybe should be taken into account," Craven said in an interview with The Associated Press at the Winter Paralympics in Sochi. "I think you have to remember the way the city, and therefore the country, is selected by a group of individuals ... each individual can be affected by different things.

"You have to leave it to them to talk about a number of different issues. I don't think we necessarily need to emphasize certain different areas, expect one and that is sport — the athletes."

At the same time, Craven emphasizes a desire to see "all citizens being treated equally."

The coalition of groups — including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Human Rights Campaign — urged the IOC last month to amend the Olympic charter to specify that its condemnation of discrimination extends to discrimination based on sexual orientation and sexual identity.