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Russia’s top diplomat vows to defend rights of national athletes at global level

January 25, 16:34 UTC+3

Last year, on August 7, the International Paralympic Committee decided to bar the whole Russian team from taking part in the 2016 Summer Paralympics

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© AP Photo/Ivan Sekretarev

MOSCOW, January 25. /TASS/. Russia stands against infringement of rights of national athletes and raises this issue with various international organizations, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Wednesday.

"We have raised this issue with numerous international organizations, including the Council of Europe, which has the relevant conventions, and UNESCO," Russia’s top diplomat said.

"We have initiated resolutions with the UN and OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) to root out discrimination in sports and attempts to politicize it," Lavrov said.

"We have also introduced our proposals with the (UN) Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requesting to put an end to the discrimination of athletes with limited abilities," the Russian foreign minister stated.

"We are also requesting from the (UN) Human Rights Committee to pass decisions securing the inadmissibility of politicizing sports events and political involvement in sports on the whole," Lavrov said.

Last year, on August 7, the IPC (International Paralympic Committee) decided to bar the whole Russian team from taking part in the 2016 Summer Paralympics. The ruling came on the heels of a report delivered in July by the WADA Independent Commission, chaired by Canadian sports law professor Richard McLaren.

The McLaren-led commission claimed in particular that a total of 35 doping samples were concealed by Russian Paralympic sports between 2012 and 2015.

Besides collectively punishing the Russian national team by banning it from the Rio Games, the IPC also decided to suspend the RPC (Russian Paralympic Committee) membership in the international organization. The Russian Paralympic team is now facing a possibility of being banned from the 2018 Winter Paralympic Games in South Korea’s PyeongChang.

The Russian Foreign Minister also said that the country’s upper house of the parliament, the Federation Council, had recently submitted its statement with the United Nations on the inadmissibility of doping abuse in sports, sparking great interest within the organization’s members.

On top of all that, Lavrov said a Russian official was recently reelected for another two-year term to the post of UNESCO’s chairman in charge of anti-doping issues.

"We use this organization (UNESCO) actively and the fact of his reelection proves that not all countries are willing to succumb to those, who fabricate films and reports without having any proof," Lavrov said.

"This is a very serious problem," the Russian foreign minister stated. "Our position is open and honest. We are ready to cooperate, but we will be cooperating based on facts and not on ungrounded allegations.".

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