United Nations World Tourism member Edwin W. Leslie Seeks Referendum Boycotting Winter Games

"As an organization our fundamental principles and Global Code of Ethics for Tourism support the right to be free from 'discrimination',” Stated Mr. Leslie.

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Phoenix, Arizona (PRWEB) August 14, 2013

In an open letter to its members and member countries, Edwin W. Leslie, President & CEO of Leslie Hospitality Consulting has asked the United Nations World Tourism Council Members to put forth a referendum at its upcoming August 24, 2013 meeting in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe seeking a boycott of the Winter Olympic games to be held in Sochi, Russia.

“I am reaching out to you today as a member of the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO). On August 24, 2013 the General Assembly, twentieth session of the UNWTO begins in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. I would ask for your support in writing Secretary-General Taleb Rifai, and urging the UNWTO to ask its member countries to vote on a referendum supporting a withdrawal or boycott of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games scheduled to be held in Sochi, Russia," stated Mr. Leslie in his email to the membership.

Mr. Leslie further stated in his letter to the United Nations World Tourism Council membership, "As an organization our fundamental principles and Global Code of Ethics for Tourism support the right to be free from discrimination. We cannot simply sit back and allow Russian President Vladimir Putin to openly discriminate against any type of person or group! It is very clear that the intent of the Russian Government is to discriminate against more than just the gay and lesbian athletes, but anyone publicly supporting the LGBT community."

According to numerous articles published by news agenices including the Associated Press and New York Times; Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law that labels any public acknowledgement of the LGBT community as "gay propaganda." It is now a crime in Russia to advocate for LGBT equality, publicly say that gay relationships are equal to non-gay ones, organize an LGBT pride event, or even simply hold a rainbow flag. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/07/28/world/europe/putin-in-ukraine-to-celebrate-a-christian-anniversary.html (7/29/13), http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/01/world/asia/anti-gay-law-stirs-fears-in-russia.html (2/29/13), http://www.nytimes.com/2013/08/02/sports/olympics/new-russian-law-stirs-olympic-controversy.html (8/1/13) and http://news.yahoo.com/q-anti-gay-legislation-russia-145256676.html (8/12/13).

“An absolute ban on the Russian Winter Olympic Games of 2014 in Sochi is simply essential to standing up for and defending human rights!" stated Mr. Leslie.

Mr. Leslie was elected this year to the UNWTO, and is one of 12 representatives in the United States and the only representative in the State of Arizona. The UNWTO is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. UNWTO’s membership includes 155 countries throughout the world, and approximately 400 affiliate members worldwide representing the private sector, educational institutions, tourism associations and local tourism authorities.

UNWTO generates market knowledge, promotes competitive and sustainable tourism policies and instruments, fosters tourism education and training, and works to make tourism an effective tool for development through technical assistance projects in over 100 countries around the world.

The World Tourism Organization is the United Nations agency responsible for the promotion of responsible, sustainable and universally accessible tourism. As the leading international organization in the field of tourism, UNWTO promotes tourism as a driver of economic growth, inclusive development and environmental sustainability and offers leadership and support to the sector in advancing knowledge and tourism policies worldwide.


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