Removal of sexual orientation discrimination ban in UN resolution blocked by US

Logo of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games. Lee Jin-man, AP, File.

Every two years, before the Olympic Games, the UN General Assembly negotiates what is called the “Olympic Truce Resolution”. The document seeks to ensure peace in the world during the Olympics, as well as a week before and after the games.

Since 2015, the resolution has included a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation. But two countries – Egypt and Russia – are trying to get the clause removed from this year’s resolution, prior to the Winter Games in South Korea in February, according to a report by

“Egypt and Russia are not simply fighting over symbolic language but over the levels of violence governments are allowed to use against LGBT people,” said Jessica Stern, Executive Director at OutRight Action International, in a statement to the website.

“After systematic attacks on LGBT people in their own countries, they are now setting their sights on promoting violence and discrimination in every country of the world. The Olympics Games are supposed to be a time for sport, technique, pride and community, not for politicking, hatred and violence.”

The U.S., France and Brazil have blocked efforts to remove a reference to discrimination that includes sexual orientation from an Olympics resolution at the U.N. according to the Washington Blade.

 “The Olympics is an event that should focus on what brings us together – friendly competition by the world’s best athletes – not what makes us different,” U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley told the Washington Blade on Tuesday in a statement.  “No athlete should face discrimination of any kind when representing their country in the games.” 

“We’ve already agreed to this badly needed anti-discrimination language in previous Olympics resolutions,” Haley told the Blade. “Countries that want to remove anti-discrimination language from this resolution should question their commitment to the ideals that make the Olympics such a special event for people across the globe.”

Russia has tried to play down allegations of anti-LGBT+ violence in Chechnya, a semi-autonomous Russian republic. Egyptian lawmakers last week introduced a bill that would criminalize the country’s LGBT community.

The vote on the resolution takes place on November 13.

Copyright The Gayly – November 1, 2017 @ 5:15  p.m. CDT.