Moscow perplexed with U.S. demands for review of IOC opinion on Russian gay propaganda law

Moscow has called outrageous the U.S. senators' demand that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) review its opinion on the Russian law banning homosexuality propaganda amongst minors.

"We have paid attention to the letter sent by eleven U.S. senators to the International Olympic Committee president and their demand to review the official opinion of the IOC on the Russian law banning homosexuality propaganda amongst minors. We are extremely perplexed by this step," Russian Foreign Ministry Ombudsman for Human Rights, Democracy and Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov said in a commentary posted on the ministry website.

"Explanations of this Russian law have been repeatedly given to U.S. lawmakers amongst others. It seems the explanations were not heeded," Dolgov said.

"The law does not aim to discriminate against sexual minorities; its sole objective is to protect children from inappropriate information harmful for people of their age," he emphasized.

"It does not violate Russia's international commitments in the field of human rights. The only thing this law prohibits is the aggressive pushing of non-traditional sexual behavior patterns on minors. Besides, violations are regarded as administrative rather than criminal offenses," Dolgov said.

Russia will welcome all athletes and guests "irrespective of their sexual orientation," the diplomat remarked.

"At the same time, we expect our foreign guests to comply with the fundamental Olympic principle of respect for the laws of the host country," Dolgov said.

"I would like to remind those concerned about the security and wellbeing of members of the LGBT community in Russia, in particular, during the Sochi Games, that same-sex sexual relationships are still subject to criminal prosecution in 76 states across the world. Russia is not one of these countries. Besides, some countries punish this [behavior] with death. However, these harsh laws do not stop our Western partners from developing full-scale relations with many of them," he observed.

Dolgov advised "campaigners for the rights of sexual minorities in Russia to pay attention to the situation in their home countries before critiquing us."

"For instance, the United States, which presents itself as the vanguard of international movement promoting LGBT rights, annually registers over a thousand crimes against sexual minorities (the FBI reported 1,500 crimes of the kind in 2011). Human rights activists say that this is just the tip of the iceberg and many crimes are simply not included in official statistic reports," the ministry's human rights ombudsman concluded.

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