NGOs condemned the homophobic statements of Georgian Dream leaders

Civic Platform “No-Phobia!”Coalition for Equality and other civil society organizations responded to the March 5 dignity march by Tbilisi Pride and Partners. Comments were made on statements by Irakli Kobakhidze, Chairman of the ruling party, and Davit Sergeenko, Member of the same party and Deputy Speaker of the Georgian Parliament. In the information published on the page of “Fair Elections” we read:

“Signatory Organizations Condemn Statements by Irakli Kobakhidze and Davit Sergeenko as Homophobic and Encouraging Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Discrimination, as they go against constitutional and international human rights standards. In particular, Irakli Kobakhidze’s words “these people should be refused to hold this event”, are absolutely incompatible with the constitution of Georgia, which literally guarantees the right of assembly without prior permission. Besides, the right of assembly and freedom of expression is a universal and fundamental right, that everyone should be allowed to exercise no matter sexual orientation, gender, or any other identity. In addition, the state has an obligation to ensure the safety of each participant in the assembly. In particular, in its judgment against Georgia, the European Court of Human Rights explained that “peaceful demonstrations can irritate or offend those who oppose the ideas or demands that the demonstration seeks to spread. Nevertheless, with the help of the state, participants should be able to demonstrate without fear of being subjected to violence by opponents.” Also, “In a democratic society, the right to counter-protest does not preclude the exercise of the right to demonstrate.” Taking preventive measures to meet the obligation to protect the participants of the assembly is especially important when it comes to one of the most vulnerable groups, the LGBT + community, and the authorities are already aware of the homophobic context in the country. In particular, at this time, state authorities “are obliged to take any possible measures, such as making public statements before the demonstration, in order to unequivocally support a tolerant, peaceful position and to warn potential offenders of the nature of possible sanctions.”

Contrary to the above standards, the statements of Irakli Kobakhidze and Davit Sergeenko not only do not contribute to the establishment of a tolerant attitude towards the LGBT + community, but, on the contrary, encourage homophobia and hatred. Their actions, according to government officials, further exacerbate homophobic groups as they hold the organizers of the honor march responsible for a potential attack, (“In this context, responsible people, as a rule, should not plan this” and “should not go to the confrontation anyway”) instead of aggressive groups that are threatening and being violent. In addition, the statements of Irakli Kobakhidze and Davit Sergeenko, as representatives of the authorities, can influence the law enforcement agencies, which poses a threat that the law enforcement agencies do not adequately ensure the safety of participants in the march of dignity. This threat is real given that the state has not fulfilled its positive commitment in the past and has not taken steps to ensure that the LGBT + community enjoys freedom of assembly and expression in a peaceful and secure environment.

In view of all the above, we call on the Georgian government and its representatives:

  1. Do not spread homophobic and hateful statements
  2. Make pro-equality statements and make it clear that homophobic violence will not go unanswered by the state;
  3. To ensure the safety of the march of dignity in a peaceful environment. “

Civic Platform Civic Platform “No to Phobia!” And Coalition for Equality member organizations:

 

Georgian Democratic Initiative (GDI)

Media Development Fund (MDF)

Tolerance and diversity institute (TDI)

Georgian Youth Lawyers Association (GYLA)

Open Society of Georgia Fund (OSGF)

Rights Georgia

Georgian Reforms Association (GRASS)

International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)

Institute for Democracy and Safe Development (IDSD)

Transparency International-Georgia (TI Georgia)

Equality Movement

Human Rights Center (HRC)

hip for Human Rights (PHR)

Sapari

Center for Social Justice

Women’s Initiative Support Group (WISG)

 

Other signatory organizations:

 

Community of Solidarity

World Physicians France (MDM)

Center for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims – GCRT

Mandala

Women for common future (WECF) Georgia

Women from Georgia

Women’s movement

The movement is a shame

Tbilisi Human Rights House (HRHT)

Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI)

Akeso

CENN

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