Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch 2016 Annual Report on Georgia

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Human Rights Watch recently released its annual report on Georgia.

The report looked into some of the most important problems in the field of human rights in Georgia, including: the right to privacy, abuse of power by law enforcement authorities and LGBT rights.  

The report also touched on the 2016 parliamentary elections and the “violent incidents” before the elections.

“On October 4, an explosion hit the car of a prominent member of parliament from the opposition United National Movement (UNM) party, injuring five. An October 2 shooting during an outdoor campaign meeting for an independent candidate wounded two people. On October 1, three GD activists were assaulted while campaigning. Investigations into all three incidents were pending at time of writing”, highlights the report.

Regarding the right to privacy, the HRW report mentioned the illegally-recorded phone conversations of opposition party members and threats on releasing the sex tapes of two cabinet members, an opposition member and a journalist.

The report also spoke about police abuse and mentioned that the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association of Georgia (GYLA) received at least 62 allegations of torture and ill-treatment. The policeman involved in the Demur Sturua Case was alse mentioned in the report as an example of the abuse of power, as “the autopsy showed that Sturua (who committed suicide) sustained bodily injuries, which the prosecutor said were inflicted by the policeman prior to Sturua’s death.”

HRW also gave an example of the Cables’ Case when speaking about selective justice and politically motivated prosecution.

In addition to the ECHR’s ruling on Vano Merabishvili case was also highlighted in the report: “while his [Merabishvili] initial pretrial detention in May 2013 was lawful, the remand renewal four months later lacked reasonable grounds.“

Regarding LGBT rights, the report noted that there have been almost 20 cases of attacks against transgender people in 2016. HRW also reported that “Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili vowed to pursue a constitutional definition of marriage after the October elections, arguing that this would help counter alleged Western efforts to spread same-sex marriage “propaganda” in Georgia. Local rights groups feared this effort would further marginalize the LGBT community and intensify anti-LGBT prejudice.”

Finally, touching on media freedom, Human Rights Watch mentioned the Rustavi 2 Case, the ownership dispute of which is ongoing.  

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