Annual Report: Georgia 2013

Report
May 23, 2013

Annual Report: Georgia 2013

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  • In Mereti in the Shida Qartli region, on 26 June journalists from Info 9, Channel 9 and Trialeti reported being physically and verbally assaulted when covering a meeting of the opposition with residents.
  • On 12 July, 10 reporters were injured and hospitalized following a clash between opposition leaders and pro-government supporters in Karaleti village in the Shida Qartli region. The injured journalists were from national as well as local news agencies such as Trialeti, and Shida Qartli Information Centre. Saba Tsitsikashvili, one of the injured journalists, said that he recognized staff from the local municipal authority among his attackers.

Freedom of assembly

Freedom of assembly remained largely unrestricted, with representatives from both the UNM and the Georgian Dream coalition holding large-scale peaceful rallies in the capital Tbilisi as well as in the regions before the elections. However, a handful of incidents of violence and disruption were reported at smaller meetings, mostly in the regions.

  • In May, city authorities in Kutaisi used water cannon to prevent opposition activists from holding a peaceful candle vigil to mark the city day celebration.
  • On 26 June, a fistfight broke out before a meeting of the Georgian Dream coalition with local people in Mereti, preventing it from starting. As a result of the fight, several people, including a number of journalists, sustained injuries and two coalition supporters were taken to hospital for treatment. A video of the event allegedly showed several public employees involved in the incident.

Discrimination

Members of the majority Orthodox Christian religion clashed with minority religious groups in rural villages. Police intervened, and Muslim worshippers were able to conduct their prayers. However, the authorities failed to condemn the religious violence in unequivocal terms.

  • On 26 October, the majority Christian population of Nigvziani village, in the Lanchxuti region,threatened the Muslim population with expulsion and physical violence, demanding that they stop religious gatherings and group prayers.
  • On 30 November, in the village of Tsintskaro, in the Qvemo Qartli region, the majority Christian population threatened and verbally abused Muslim religious followers, demanding that they stop their group prayers and the construction of a mosque.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people

In Tbilisi, Orthodox Christians attacked LGBTI individuals.

  • On 3 May, a peaceful march in central Tbilisi marking the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia came under attack when a group of Orthodox Christians and members of the “Orthodox Parents' Union” began insulting and threatening protesters from IDENTOBA, a Georgian LGBTI rights organization. Police intervened after a scuffle broke out between the two groups. Five people were detained and were released shortly afterwards.

Amnesty International visits/reports

  • Amnesty International delegates visited Georgia in June, September and November.
  • Georgia: A lot to contest – Rights abuses in the run-up to Georgia's 2012 Parliamentary Election (EUR 56/005/2012)