August 22, 2013

Over 100 Canadian non-governmental, civil society organizations, including many LGBT, HIV, womens' rights, labor, and even religious organizations, have banned together and signed an open letter to the Canadian government, International Olympic and Paralympic Committees, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and corporate sponsors of the Olympics, demanding "decisive action before, during and beyond the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics" to address the human rights abuses "and intensifying tide of escalating violence against LGBT people" in Russia. The letter, which is also posted online, is written in three languages: English, French, and Russian.

“We applaud Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird for already speaking out on this issue,” said Richard Elliott, executive director of the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, in a press release which accompanied the letter. "However, the Canadian government must go further, including by blocking visas for Russian legislators who sponsored the anti-LGBT measures and by decrying the actions of Putin and his Duma at the highest international levels."

The release also noted the G20 Summit, which is scheduled to take place in two weeks in the Russian city of St. Petersburg. The Obama administration has already cancelled a meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin ahead of the summit, although said cancellation is meant to protest the granting of asylum to whisteblower Edward Snowden.

Read more at Towleroad.