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2014 Games chiefs facing call for action over human rights abuses

THE organisers of Glasgow 2014 are facing fresh criticism over claims they are failing to back activists against Commonwealth human rights abuses.

As more focus is heaped upon Russia's Winter Olympics and the ­country's record on gay rights, Glasgow 2014 is coming under renewed pressure to address the issue, particularly in light of the fact that 80% of Commonwealth countries have anti-gay legislation.

Campaigner Peter Tatchell has said he will be writing to the Commonwealth Games organisers "to press them to address human rights issues".

It comes after Pride Glasgow was denied funding to host a conference on human rights as part of the cultural events surrounding the Games.

Glasgow 2014 said its programme was "very much arts focused". It also said it was backing a Pride House, a base for LGBT athletes and visitors, although this is being run by a separate body.

Some 41 nations in the 54-member Commonwealth have laws banning homosexuality, many of which are a legacy of British Empire legislation which has never been repealed.

Mr Tatchell said: "Out of the vast Glasgow 2014 budget, surely it should be possible to fund a one-day human rights conference and include it within the official programme. This would signal that Glasgow 2014 is committed to equality for all.

"It is especially important human rights are highlighted during the Games, given that 80% of Commonwealth countries stand accused of human rights abuses, including detention without trial, torture, the death penalty, media censorship, suppression of peaceful protests, ethnic and religious persecution and the violation of the rights of women and gay people."

A Glasgow 2014 spokesman said: "We aim to stage an outstanding, athlete-centred and sport-focused Games of world-class competition; a Games that will be celebrated across the Commonwealth, generate pride in Glasgow and Scotland and leave a lasting legacy."

He said the body aimed to "engage individuals from all backgrounds".

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