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Sunday 22 April 2018

Human rights campaign launched with start of Winter Olympics

Fionnan Sheahan Group Political Editor

An international human rights organisation has launched a campaign to focus on the plight of human rights activists in Russia and Central Asia.

Front Line Defenders campaign, focusing on 12 activists, coincides with the start of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The organisation's online campaign is aimed to encourage people to take action to help the cause of human rights.

Front Line Defenders executive director Mary Lawlor said human rights activists need support to help achieve their goals.

"With global attention focused on the incredible talent and commitment of athletes gathered from around the world these Winter Games, which are supposed to be conducted in the spirit of sportsmanship and fair play, Front Line Defenders draws attention to other heroes in our societies who work at great personal risk, against seemingly insurmountable odds to secure fundamental rights and freedoms for others," she said.

The campaign was launched by the director of a leading Russian anti-discrimination organisation, ADC Memorial.

Stefania Kulaeva said the human rights crisis in Russia is bigger than just the focus on gay rights.

She said there was a discrimination against a wide variety of minorities, who are targeted daily in "a rising climate of extreme xenophobia".

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