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In Sochi Ban condemns attacks on LGBT people

Ban Sochi

6 February 2014. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today condemned attacks on LGBT people in a speech to the International Olympic Committee Session in Sochi.

 The Secretary-General is in Sochi to attend the opening of the 2014 Winter Olympics in the Russian city. In his speech Ban reminded that this past December, the theme of Human Rights Day was “Sport comes out against homophobia.”  

“We must all raise our voices against attacks on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex people.  We must oppose the arrests, imprisonments and discriminatory restrictions they face, “ Ban said in his speech.

The Olympic Committee is meeting in Sochi, the venue of the 2014 Winter Olympics. The UN Secretary-General will attend the opening session of the Olympics tomorrow.  He will meet world leaders who attend the opening session, although a number of western leaders will not attend, some citing criticism of Russia's so-called "gay propaganda" laws.

Ban called on the world´s nations to observe the Olympic Truce  “The athletes here carry the flags of different nations – but they are all joining under the banner of equality, fair play, understanding and mutual respect,” Mr Ban said.

“If they can do that in Sochi’s sporting arenas, leaders of fighters should do the same in the world’s combat areas. As Secretary-General of the United Nations, I again urge all warring parties to respect the Olympic Truce – especially in Syria, South Sudan and the Central African Republic.

The symbolic Truce starts one week before the Sochi Winter Games and will run until a week after the closing of the XI Paralympic Winter Games, to be held 7 to 16 March.

The ancient Greek tradition of the ekecheiria, or Olympic Truce, was born in the eighth century BC “to encourage a peaceful environment and ensure safe passage, access and participation for athletes and relevant persons at the Games, thereby mobilizing the youth of the world to the cause of peace.”

Photo caption: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (left) meets with Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympics Committee (IOC), in Sochi, Russian Federation, site of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, which begin on 7 February 2014.UN/Paulo Filgueiras. 

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