On March 20, the annual Country Report on Human Rights Practices was published by the US Department of State. Among other countries, the document assesses the human rights situation and challenges in Georgia for 2022.
In discussing important issues related to human rights in Georgia, the report emphasizes problems such as: Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and related abuses; politically motivated investigations and problems with the independence of the judiciary; arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy; serious restrictions on freedom of expression and media, including violence and threats of violence against journalists; facts of failed investigations and lack of accountability and impunity problems; interference with the freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of association. Further, the document emphasizes the issues of human rights violations on the occupied territories, including the facts of Russian guards restricting the movement of local populations, unlawful detentions, and Russian “borderization”.
In assessing the violations revealed during April-June 2022 protest rallies, the US Department of State refers to the Reports by Human Rights Center quoting that “law enforcement officers continued to use the mechanisms provided by the Code of Administrative Offenses against protesters, in violation of the right to assemblies and manifestations, mainly in order to discredit and intimidate them and inflict harm on the protest actions.” Moreover, the Report by the Department of State emphasizes the assessments by HRC that the majority of these protests were peaceful and, in any event, the risk of wrongdoing by protesters did not reach the threshold of imminence.
Based on monitorings of 7 protest rallies taking place between April-June 2022, the HRC Report assesses the problems evident in terms of exercising the freedom of assemblies and manifestations, including the improper and inefficient management of the assemblies, legislative gaps related to the impossibility to block the roads in spontaneous protests. In order to address these and other problems, the HRC report provides relevant recommendations to the Government of Georgia, Parliament, judicial authorities and law enforcement agencies.
The Report by the Department of State covers also the case of cartographers assessed by Georgian NGOs including HRC to be politically motivated with HRC defending the rights of one of the defendants Natalia Ilychova. Up to the date, HRC continues monitoring and assessing the court proceedings of the cases with alleged political motives.
While assessing the problems of antisemitism in the document, the US Department of State is referring to the Statement by HRC addressing the cases of assault in the social media against the family of human rights activist Vitali Safarov murdered on the ethnic intolerance grounds. According to HRC, the improper response to hate crimes undermines public order. Up to the date, HRC carries on protecting the interests of the legal successor of Vitali Safarov.
The annual report by the Department of State also addresses the issues of persons with disabilities referring to the assessments by HRC given in the Annual Report in relation of protecting the rights of individuals with mental health problems. In this regard, the document mentions the problems of health care, including access to medical facilities and services, as well as difficulties in communicating with medical personnel.
Human Rights Center