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Finnish sports minister calls to boycott Olympics and Ice Hockey World Championship  ? 89

7:37, — Politics

Finnish sports minister calls to boycott Olympics and Ice Hockey World Championship

Human rights violators cannot hold international sporting tournaments.

Paavo Arhinmaki said he would boycott the Winter Olympic opening ceremony due to human rights violations in Russia, RBK news agency reports with a link to the interview of the Finnish minister of sport and culture to Finnish TV station YLE.

One shouldnt go and support human rights violations, restriction of freedom of speech and oppressing sexual minorities, Paavo Arhinmaki told journalists. He also critisised the decisions of holding international sporting tournaments in the countries with serious human rights problems.

This is a big problem for the sports movement. When decisions to grant these games are made, these things are not considered, he said. The ice hockey world championship will be held in Belarus, the last dictatorship in Europe. Qatar, the country using slave work, prepares to host the Football World Cup.

Lukashenka received the right to host the ice hockey world championship in 2009. The event will take place on 9-25 May at the Minsk Arena and the Chyzhouka-Arena (Chizhovka Arena).

Human rights activists and international organisations stand against holding the championship in Belarus due to human rights violations and political prisoners. The idea of moving the event to another country was supported by many European and American politicians. Some countries threatened to boycott the championship due to repressions organised by the Belarusian authorities.

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