Olympic chiefs urged to fulfil multicultural promise

Human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell will next week meet London Olympic organisers, to urge that the Opening and Closing Ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics feature high visibility representations of all of London’s diverse, multicultural communities.

He will also press the organisers to make human rights and action on global poverty major themes of the parallel 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

“Our 2012 bid promoted London as a multicultural city that celebrates equality and diversity. Now is the time for the Olympic organisers to deliver on that promise,” said Mr Tatchell.

“Profiling and celebrating the many communities that make London such a wonderful, vibrant city would make the 2012 Olympics truly unique and special. No other Olympic host city has made cultural diversity a focus of its games. None has led its Cultural Olympiad on the themes of promoting universal human rights and international development.

“I hope the 2012 Cultural Olympiad will include human rights-themed events in partnership with Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and other humanitarian organisations.

“Having a human rights dimension would be consistent with Olympic ideal of promoting international understanding, peace, friendship and solidarity.

“Racism, misogyny, homophobia and anti-Jewish and anti-Muslim prejudice contradict the Olympic values of non-discrimination and fair play.

“Global poverty is also inconsistent with these values. It prevents athletes from competing on a level playing field. Showcasing arts that promote and celebrate economic development in poorer counties should be a part of the Cultural Olympiad.

“It is not enough to have black, female and gay staff and volunteers, or to include them in the Olympic ceremonials. London’s diverse communities should be an identifiable, visible highlight of the Opening and Closing Ceremonies. This cultural diversity should be a key selling point of the 2012 Olympics: London as a world city that welcomes and embraces people from all cultures.

“I want the celebration of diversity and inclusion to be a centrepiece feature of the 2012 games, so that London can project the dream of a future world where people from all cultures can live, work and love together.

“This would make the London Olympics truly unique and leave a lasting humanitarian legacy with a global impact” said Mr Tatchell.

Mr Tatchell will meet Stephen Frost, Head of Diversity and Inclusion, and Ruth Mackenzie Director of the Cultural Olympiad.

He hopes to later in the month meet Martin Green, Head of Ceremonies.


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