In February, the Winter Olympics will open in Sochi, Russia. They will give a world stage and sanction to a country that is repressing the rights of its own citizens. A Russian law passed this year punishes LGBT persons, and anyone who speaks on their behalf in front of children.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) - the multi-billion dollar organization that runs the Olympics has the ability to speak out against this law. Not only that, it has a duty to do so. Its own charter swears to uphold human dignity and reject discrimination.
Until now the International Olympic Committee has lacked the spine to take the necessary actions. It has hid behind vague assurances from the Russian government, and refused to stand up for its own values. But if the fans speak out, the International Olympic Committee - and its vital commercial sponsors - will be forced to listen, and forced to stand up for what is right.
Join Human Rights Watch in demanding that 2014 are not the Olympics of hate.
Dear IOC President Thomas Bach,
The Olympic Charter dedicates itself to "promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity," and rejects discrimination of any kind.
Recent actions on the part of the Russian government have betrayed that charter. Banning speech that advocates for the rights and equality of LGBT citizens is discrimination - and it undermines human dignity.
As the new president, we call on you to uphold these most basic tenets of your charter, and demand the repeal of this repugnant law.