Count Jacques Rogge has finally admitted to something that he should have admitted to a long time ago. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) can do little to nothing to stop or influence Russia with regards to their anti-gay policies.
The IOC is currently meeting to determine where the 2020 Olympics will be held. In unprepared remarks opening the session, Rogge stated that “We have received some oral and written assurances about the fact the Russian Federation will respect the Olympic charter and no negative effect will occur for people attending in or participating in the Games. But one should not forget that we are staging the games in a sovereign state, and the IOC cannot be expected to have an influence on the sovereign affairs of a country.”
Rogge went on to say that the IOC does not have the moral authority to adopt any stronger stance and that the IOC cannot and should not intervene.
Pressed on whether the IOC did not have “moral authority” to adopt a stronger stance, Rogge insisted the IOC could not, and should not, intervene. He went on to say that “We have clearly on various occasions expressed our view on situations in countries. But we are restricted in our power and our action by the fact that we are the guest of a sovereign country where we hold the Games.”
Russia has, in past months, instituted a law preventing LGBT people from talking to children about homosexuality; introduced into the Duma a bill that would take away the children of LGBT couples, and ignored the beating, torture and possible outright murder of various LGBT, Jewish, Christian, Sikh, Muslim, Black, and Asian individuals by ultranationalist thugs.
In making this statement, Rogge and the IOC also ignore the various human rights abuses that have been going on in Sochi and throughout Russia. Artwork critical of the Sochi Olympics has been destroyed by the Russian police; journalists and activists documenting human rights abuses in Sochi have been arrested and harassed; immigrant laborers have been brought in to Sochi to build the Olympic village and then paid little to nothing effectively making them slaves; and people have been displaced from their homes in order to have them bulldozed in order to build the Olympic venues, and they have not been paid much for their property.
The IOC might want to consider the human rights agendas of the host nations when making their decisions in the future since this has been going on for years now.