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EU commissioner to skip Olympics because of Russia’s human rights record

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

LAUSANNE, Switzerland — European Union commissioner Viviane Reding said Tuesday she would not be attending the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia, over that country’s treatment of minorities.

Viviane Reding

Viviane Reding

“I will certainly not go to Sochi as long as minorities are treated the way they are under the current Russian legislation,” Reding, EU Commissioner for Justice, Citizenship and Fundamental Rights, said in a tweet on Tuesday.

While it was unclear whether Reding had been invited or would have gone as an EU representative or a private citizen, her decision to openly oppose Russia’s recent legislation was the most vocal statement by a politician to date, according to Reuters.

Reding joins German President Joachim Gauck in boycotting the games.

Gauck decision also comes in protest of human rights violations and the harassment of Russian opposition political figures, Der Spiegel reported Sunday. The magazine said the Russian government was informed of his decision last week.

Russia has come under intense criticism since President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning “the promotion of non-traditional sexual relationships” this past June.

The bill was part of a series of legislative measures advanced by the Russian Parliament, including the ban of adoption of Russian children by foreign LGBT individuals and same-sex couples, or couples from nations which have legalized same-sex marriage.

Putin has said several times that gay athletes are welcome in Russia and that no discrimination will be tolerated, but that the is needed to protect young people.

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35 more reader comments:

  1. Now is the time to stand up for equality. :)

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 7:45pm
  2. This is great news. We need to stand up for our lgbt brothers and sisters.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 7:47pm
  3. BRAVO AND THANK YOU European Union commissioner Viviane Reding for standing up to Putin and his Olympic puppets of oppression…NOW IS THE TIME TO STAND AND NOT A MINUTE LATER..

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 7:48pm
  4. nope….now’s the time for boycott. plain and simple. let them lose a ton of money after spending a bunch. that’s the only thing anyone ever responds to these days. BOYCOTT

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 7:49pm
  5. Amen!! This is the time one of our biggest statements could be made. Boycott this winters Olympics!

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 7:49pm
  6. Thank you for your stance on this issue.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 7:50pm
  7. I won’t be tuning into the games this year.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 7:54pm
  8. I won’t be watching for the first time.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 7:58pm
  9. Bravo

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 8:00pm
  10. So happy to see this :)

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 8:02pm
  11. I won’t be watching… not even the Curling!

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 8:06pm
  12. Not watching a minute of it.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 8:12pm
  13. all open minded nations
    (and by open minded I mean actual civilized human beings) should do the same it would speak VOLUMES.

    I can tell you I won’t be watching the games this year.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 8:25pm
  14. Woop! Woop! Keep em coming!

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 8:37pm
  15. I applaud her! Sharing this.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 8:47pm
  16. Thank you. I hope all European politicians will follow her example

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 8:51pm
  17. Thank you!

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 8:51pm
  18. The Boycott to the international sponsors should continue after the games!

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 9:03pm
  19. Good ought to run her for American President! We need someone in office who has a set.

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 9:47pm
  20. yes!

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 9:51pm
  21. Well Done!!

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 11:16pm
  22. SCREW Russia! It’s B.S.—–homophobes!

    Posted on Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 11:30pm
  23. A very strong and influential statement coming from the EU Commissioner of human rights.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 12:57am
  24. Thanks for your support

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 1:03am
  25. another very good person.. brave enough to stand up for equality!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 1:59am
  26. Wow, good on you Viviane Reding!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 2:03am
  27. It’s about time some one with guts takes a stand Thank You. This will be the first time I won’t be watching the games. Nor buying one thing to do with the Olympics .

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 2:07am
  28. Glad to hear it! Yay for Luxembourg!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 2:31am
  29. Lots of empty seats in Sochi, hopefully…

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 3:03am
  30. i will not watch a minute of it……i would be a hypocrite if I did!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 4:09am
  31. Good decision…

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 4:22am
  32. Good !!

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 4:23am
  33. If everyone is so up in arms about homophobic Putin and Russia why was Sochi chosen in the first place? This is ridiculous…

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 4:54am
  34. leader!! and now barack look s like the ignorant he is…if black men were being beaten arrested and murdered for being black in russia do you think HE would say Yeah gagead???

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 5:09am
  35. This is fabulous news and hopefully more world leaders will follow her leadership.

    Posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013 at 5:15am