Calls for Icelandic Officials to Take Stand on Gay Rights in Sochi

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Calls for Icelandic Officials to Take Stand on Gay Rights in Sochi

By Ásta Andrésdóttir
Gay Pride Reykjavík

Photo: Páll Stefánsson.

Anna Pála Sverrisdóttir, director of the Icelandic Gay and Lesbian Organization has urged the Icelandic government to seize the opportunity to object to human rights violations in Russia while at the Sochi Winter Olympics. Councilwoman for the Independence Party Hildur Sverrisdóttir believes that information and discussion are important but wonders where the line should be drawn.

In an interview at the National Broadcasting Service’s Rás 2 radio station the two discussed the upcoming Sochi Winter Olympics. Many of the world’s officials have declined to attend as a means of protest whereas the President of Iceland and two Ministers will attend the opening ceremony, invited by the Icelandic Olympic Committee.

“All I ask is that government officials don’t let the opportunity to protest in Sochi pass them by,” said Anna Pála. “I ask Icelandic officials to not simply smile and join the party instead of protesting against these human rights violations which are in blatant contrast with the Olympic spirit.”

Hildur agreed with Anna Pála that the human rights violations of the Russian government are despicable, saying that information and discussion were key but she wondered where the line should be drawn. “And if it is a sin that such a beautiful phenomenon as the Olympics suffer we have to wonder where the line should be drawn. The next games will be held in Brazil, where entire areas inhabited by the poor are being demolished in order to make room for sports arenas. Where is their advocate? And should sports events in the United States be boycotted in order to protest their death penalty policy? Also, the Faroese people could be criticized for their stance against homosexuality but still the Icelandic national soccer team plays against them.”

Asked for a response, Anna Pála said that the lack of action against one injustice cannot be used to object to this particular instance of human rights violation.

Hildur said that Icelanders wish to participate in international collaboration, whether it is the Eurovision song contest or the Olympic Games. “Russian activists have been calling for us not to miss the chance to protest. But we mustn’t forget that the Russians know all too well the ways to silence and cast out, not dealing with the problem and instead hiding it with glitter. That is also important to keep in mind.”

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