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Demand the International Olympic Committee stand up to Russia

Join Human Rights Watch and sign the petition to demand that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) stands up to the Russian government against hatred and censorship. UPDATE: For more Olympic actions, please click here to #WatchSochi

Gay rights activists hold a banner protesting a ban on gay pride parades during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Moscow in September.
Gay rights activists hold a banner protesting a ban on gay pride parades during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics in Moscow in September.

REUTERS/Tatyana Makeyeva

"The Olympics represent international cooperation and fair play – we cannot allow them to tolerate hatred and discrimination," says Human Rights Watch.

In February 2014, the Winter Olympics will take place in Sochi, Russia. "They will give a world stage and sanction to a country that is repressing the rights of its own citizens," says Human Rights Watch. Russian laws passed this year punish lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons, and anyone who speaks on their behalf in front of children.

Since the May 2012 inauguration of President Vladimir Putin, Human Rights Watch reports that new laws have been adopted "restricting public assemblies, re-criminalising libel, criminalising religious insult, introducing additional restrictions on internet content, expanding the definition of treason, and banning 'propaganda' for 'nontraditional sexual relations.'"

Journalists have faced criminal charges in retaliation for reporting on issues related to the Olympics, such as abuses against migrant workers, environmental impact and corruption.

The IOC - "the multi-billion dollar organisation that runs the Olympics - has the ability to speak out against these laws," says Human Rights Watch, adding, "Not only that, it has a duty to do so. Its own charter swears to uphold human dignity and reject discrimination."

Until now the IOC has not taken action, but has accepted Russia's assurances that Olympic values will be upheld. But that is not good enough. If fans and commercial sponsors speak out, Human Rights Watch says the IOC will be forced to implement measures to ensure the Olympic spirit prevails.

Join Human Rights Watch in demanding that Sochi 2014 is not the Olympics of hate. Sign the petition now.

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