HUMAN rights campaigners are calling on the organisers of Glasgow’s Commonwealth Games to help safeguard athletes against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Peter Tatchell Foundation has written to Games chief David Grevemberg asking for all nations to sign a “non-discrimination” pledge before being allowed to compete.
Current rules mean participating countries must accept the constitution set out by the Commonwealth Games Federation. This includes article seven, which states: “there shall be no discrimination against any country or person on any grounds whatsoever, including race, colour, gender, religion or politics”.
But Peter Tatchell, who runs the foundation, says this is a mere formality. “They have never been specifically asked to agree to non-discrimination,” he said.
“We are asking Glasgow 2014 to require competing nations to sign a pledge of non-discrimination in their team selection, in accordance with article seven of the constitution of the Commonwealth Games Federation - but with expanded grounds of non-discrimination such as ethnicity, caste, sexual orientation and gender identity.”
“This would be a very significant, high-impact equality initiative. It has never been done before and would make Glasgow 2014 unique, trail-blazing and rightly deserving of public acclaim.”
He said prejudice and legal victimisation prevalent in many parts of the Commonwealth could prevent athletes being picked to represent their country. “This needs to be challenged,” he said.
“The Commonwealth Games should foster a culture of equality where athletes compete solely on the basis of merit. We hope Glasgow 2014 will accept our proposal to further enhance its existing commitment to equality.”
A spokeswoman for Glasgow 2014 said the organisation aimed to stage an “athlete-centred and sport-focused” games that would leave a lasting legacy.
“Glasgow 2014 is a diverse and inclusive organisation and, in line with the Commonwealth Games core value of equality, aims to engage individuals from all backgrounds, regardless of race, religion or sexual orientation,” she said.
“We remain firmly focused on delivering a Games that can be a demonstration of the positive and unifying power of sport.”