Ucha Nanuashvili comments on May 17

(Ucha Nanuashvili – Public Defender of Georgia from December 2012 to December 2017, Head of the Institute for Democracy Research)

The main problem is the state policy of pushing out the LGBT community from the public spaces. Sadly, this has been happening for years and the government hasn’t taken any drastic measures toward ending it.

Till this day the groups that participated in the violence in 2013 still have not been properly punished. This act of not being punished creates more incentive for further crimes. And violent groups benefit from this policy of the government.

Societal awareness, the stereotypes that fuel stigma and violence against LGBT community is a whole different topic. Government is acting on a political agenda instead of politics based on equality and human rights, where every group’s rights will be protected.

Whenever the government needs support of conservative part of society they change the constitution, when they need to associate with EU or need assistance from international partners, they implement anti-discrimination laws. However, the truth is that, for years now they have been prohibiting LGBT activists from gathering openly and publicly or they are given this right only under strict regulations.

In past years especially, there has been a rise of hate groups and crimes against people of the community. Meanwhile the reaction from the government is either minimal or completely absent. The scale of violence against queer people has increased significantly.

A whole different problem is government representatives and generally politicians expressing homophobic views in their public speeches, which incentivizes stigmatization even more. The state needs the right policy to change this situation and, most importantly, political will.

LGBTQ community members need to use any means that exist, whether inside or outside of the country, to protect their rights. It is necessary to use all effective tools, and for this goal it is especially important to record and document all cases of human rights violations, as well as to work actively with human rights organizations, media and state institutions.

What goal does the church proclaiming 17th of May as a Family Sanctity day serve? They could have chosen any other day to do so, also any religious organization can declare this or that day as a day of protection of something. But it is the government’s responsibility to protect every citizen’s rights and equality, including the freedom of expression and of assembly. The state has this obligation, which unfortunately does not fulfill.

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