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Response Letter from IOC President Thomas Bach

Response to HRW's requests to ensure that Kazakhstan government does not introduce anti-LGBT laws

To: Minky Worden
Director of Global Initiatives
Human Rights Watch
350 Fifth Avenue, 34th Floor
New York, NY 10118-3299
From: Lausanne, 
Ref. No. MAS/nbr
By e-mail only.
15 July 2015
Dear Minky,
It was a pleasure to meet you at the headquarters of Human Rights Watch in April in New York. It is valuable to our organisation to have the opportunity to exchange views on a range of topics including the 2022 bid process. 
The IOC is an organisation firmly opposed to all forms of discrimination in sport. This is why, as part of Olympic Agenda 2020, we have reviewed Principle 6 of the Olympic Charter within the context of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 2, and the European Convention of Human Rights, Article 14. As you know, this has resulted in the inclusion of a specific reference to sexual orientation in Principle 6.
The law that you refer to in your latest letter has recently been declared as unconstitutional by the Constitutional Council of Kazakhstan. In addition, in the context of the evaluation for the Games, the IOC’s Evaluation Commission sought assurances from both Candidate Cities and their local Government authorities that the Host City Contract and Olympic Charter would be fully respected for all participants of the Olympic Games and in Olympic-related matters. 
In the specific case of Almaty 2022, which is at present still a Candidate City, the Commission’s report stated: “Taking into consideration the open nature of the discussions and the assurances provided regarding the right to demonstrate, media freedom to report on the Games and Games preparations, with no restrictions on the internet, labour rights and displacement, the Commission
believes that the Government of Kazakhstan would take all necessary measures to ensure the Olympic Charter and Host City Contract are respected.”
More information in this respect can be found in the Commission’s report, which is
available on our website here.
As a sporting organisation, we are not in a position to dictate the wider laws of any sovereign nation. This is not our role. Our role is that when it comes to evaluate Candidate Cities and to elect Host Cities, we have the necessary guarantees that there is no discrimination of any kind at the Games.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to us and I look forward to continuing our dialogue.
Yours sincerely,
Thomas Bach

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