Netherlands Will Not Boycott Olympic Games
THE HAGUE, 13/08/13 - The Netherlands is no supporter of a boycott of the Olympic Winter Games in Russia next year.
It is better for homosexuals and lesbians in Russia for the Netherlands and other countries to participate in the Winter Games in Sochi and speak out there for the rights of homosexuals. “With this approach, we will on balance achieve more” than with a boycott, said a spokesman for Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans.
Timmermans was reacting to the call by UK actor Stephen Fry for the West to boycott the Games. Fry compared the position of gays in Russia to the position of Jews in Nazi Germany, where the 1936 Olympic Games were held under the eye of Adolf Hitler.
The minister considers it “very right” for Fry to draw attention to the position of homosexuals and lesbians in Russia. But “to go to the Games and show where you stand is also an excellent way of making it clear to the world that we believe that human rights apply universally and cannot be restricted because someone is a homosexual, lesbian, bi or transsexual.”
In Russia, it has for the past couple of months been forbidden to “make propaganda for non-traditional sexual relations.” For example, someone who talks about homosexuality in the presence of children risks a steep fine. This rule also applies to athletes, the Russian Minister for Sports, Vitaly Mutko has said.
Meanwhile, Amsterdam has rejected a call to ban a Russian gala concert. Gay rights organisations COC Nederland and Pride United had tried to put a spanner in the works of Constellation of Russia, to be held in the capital on 25 August, but the city council is not withdrawing the permit for the event.