24 Aug 2013

Olympic head hopefuls asked for human rights views

7:18 am on 24 August 2013

Human rights groups say the new president of the International Olympic Committee must ensure future Games hosts comply with human rights according to the Olympic charter.

Human Rights Watch and the Committee to Protect Journalists have have written to IOC presidential candidates asking for their views on human rights, as criticism of Russia's new anti-gay law mounts just six months before the country's 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

"The Olympic Movement is facing a crisis over Russia's failure to respect the Olympic Charter in Sochi," Human Rights Watch director of global initiatives Minky Worden said in a statement.

"Just as the IOC assesses ice rinks and ski jumps, the new Olympics leader needs to press Russia to repeal a discriminatory law and address human rights violations before the Sochi Games."

The letter invites the six presidential candidates to state their views on a number of issues including media freedom in the country, migrant workers' rights abuses, evictions and harassment of activists in the run-up to the Sochi Games, Reuters reports.

Critics of Russia's new law have said it effectively bans all gay rights rallies and could be used to prosecute anyone voicing support for homosexuals.

The vote for the new IOC president will be held on 10 September.