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New Zealand to have diplomat make sure citizens are not mistreated at Sochi Games

The New Zealand Government will appoint a special diplomat to Russia during the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics to ensure none of its citizens are mistreated under Russia’s ban on so-called homosexual propaganda
New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup
Photo by Adam Bouska

New Zealand will send a special diplomat to make sure none of its citizens are mistreated under Russia’s ban on gay propaganda during the Sochi Winter Olympics.

New Zealand’s Minister of Forein Affairs, Murray McCully, made the decision after being approached by a delegation of MPs from the New Zealand Labour, Greens and New Zealand First parties.

The delegation was lead by Labour’s Louisa Wall who told TVNZ of the assurances McCully had given her.

‘Mr McCullly has told me that the diplomat, a consular advisor will provide assistance to New Zealanders at the games,’ Wall said.

‘Mr McCully also wrote to us saying that the New Zealand embassy in Moscow has raised with the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs our concerns regarding the recent law changes.

‘The right of all our New Zealand team members to fully express themselves within the context of the Olympics, an international institution of such esteem, is fundamental to our full participation as equal citizens in the world.

‘This includes being proud to be who you are and unless one is fully able to express all they are, then this constraint can compromise the Olympic motto Citius, Altius, Fortius, which is Latin for 'Faster, Higher, Stronger.’

Russia’s treatment of LGBT people is of particular concern for New Zealand as New Zealand speed skater Blake Skjellerup is one of the few openly gay athletes who will compete in the games.

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