‘Worrying Signs’ Threatens Georgia’s ‘Generally Positive Trajectory’
16 February, 2012
‘Worrying Signs’ Threatens Georgia’s ‘Generally Positive Trajectory’

 

Legislative amendments passed in late December, including the one tightening party funding rules, “create an uneven political playing field” and appear to be motivated by “a desire to control the political activities of a specific individual” - an apparent reference to billionaire opposition politician Bidzina Ivanishvili -  “rather than for objective and sustainable reasons,” UN special rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association said after wrapping up his eight-day visit to Georgia on February 13.

 

Maina

Kiai, who before becoming UN’s special rapporteur year ago was chairman of Kenya’s National Human Rights Commission and Africa Director of Amnesty International, visited Georgia on February 6-13. During the visit he met with government officials, the Public Defender, representatives of civil society organization and watchdog groups, as well as political parties in Tbilisi, Kutaisi and Batumi. He is expected to report about the findings to the UN Human Rights Council in June, 2012.

While commending the Georgian authorities for efforts leading to “increased security and safety” of citizens, reduction in violent crimes and petty corruption and welcoming last year’s legislative amendments on status of religious minority groups, Maina Kiai also spoke of “a number of worrying signs that indicate that the generally positive trajectory in Georgia could be derailed and the focus on modernization could lead to a widespread climate of fear, intimidation and arbitrary restrictions of fundamental freedoms.”

“The only way Georgia can continue its path to prosperity, wealth and security is by respecting human rights and fundamental freedoms. The recent legislative acts, as well as state actions, appear to threaten this path,” he said.

Echoing concerns of many local watchdog groups and opposition parties, the UN special rapporteur said, that the legislative amendments to the law on political parties passed in late December, “at times use ambiguous language” and “are fueling an overall climate of distrust and appear to largely violate international human rights law.”

The Georgian human rights watchdog and legal advocacy groups say, that the legislative amendment, which tightens party funding rules and also applies restrictions set for parties, organizations or individuals “directly or indirectly” related with political parties, “will have a restrictive effect on civil-political activities.” The groups also say that “the ambiguous and extensive nature of norms” creates a risk of selective application of its provisions.

The UN special rapporteur said, that these legislative amendments “ applie restrictions on every person in this country for the mere reason of holding political opinions.”

“This violates the right to association, and is potentially threatening to watchdog NGOs and civil society organizations whose work could be deemed political,” he said, adding that it was causing “unnecessary fear to NGOs that their right of association, and their ability to operate freely, making their own decisions on political issues, could be compromised.”

He said, that a provision in the legislative amendments, stipulating that these restrictions cannot be used against freedom of expression and civil engagement, “is not sufficient as a safeguard against potential abuse.”

Maina Kiai also said he was “disturbed” that the law gave ”extraordinary discretional authority” to the state audit agency, Chamber of Control, which has been tasked to monitor political finances, “to decide, in its own state of mind and without substantiating its decisions, and without clear criteria or possibility to appeal the decision, whether a legal or physical person ‘is related’ to a political party.”

Speaking about break up of anti-government protest rally on May 26, 2011, the UN special rapporteur said, that “the clear excessive” force was used by the police, raising “the suspicion that the intention was not so much to disperse protesters as it was to punish and spread fear.” He called for “a new, independent and transparent investigation” of those events with the participation of all stakeholders.

He also criticized Georgia’s “very difficult labor environment”. Recalling a strike of steel plant workers in Kutaisi last year, he said he was “concerned by the allegations of harassment and intimidation against workers who belong to or have expressed sympathy or desire to join labor unions.”

The UN special rapporteur also expressed concern about “allegations of dismissals of public and private sector employees in Georgia for apparently supporting opposition parties.”

“This seems to mostly affect teachers whose employment is on contract and not protected as public servants,” he said, apparently referring to recent reports that several teachers from a school in Sachkhere district have been sacked for supporting billionaire opposition politician Bidzina Ivanishvili, including through signing a petition for restoration of Georgian citizenship for Ivanishvili.

 

Print
Other Stories
International observers about the presidential election in Georgia
The presidential election took place on the 28th of October in Georgia.
First Ladies of Independent Georgia
The presidential election took place on the 28th of October in Georgia. It was the last election in which the president will be selected by popular vote.
Funny incidents on Election Day in Georgia
The presidential election took place on the 28th of October in Georgia.
Deadline for the second round of presidential elections in Georgia is December 2
Presidential elections were held on the 28th of October in Georgia. None of the candidates managed to get majority of votes, so the second round of elections is to be appointed.
The USA National Security Advisor John Bolton is in Georgia
National Security Advisor of the United States John Bolton visited Georgia today.
People are detained at the Cannabis Festival
Today, Georgian political movement Girchi holds an event in the Dedaena Park called the Cannabis Festival.
Top safest countries and Georgia is among them - new survey says
Georgia is among the safest countries in the world. This fact is substantiated by various surveys and researches.
Who is interested in the cultivation of cannabis in Georgia?
Several weeks ago the government announced about its initiative to legalize the cultivation of medical marijuana in Georgia.
Fight in Gori – head of administration uses a bin full of manure
There was an incident yesterday in Gori municipality, Georgia at the entrance of the municipality building.
2 Georgian detainees freed from the Tskhinvali prison
Georgian detainees Maia Otinashvili and Akaki Dotiashvili are freed from the Tskhinvali prison. They had been accused of illegally crossing a so-called the borderline into the occupied Tskhinvali region.
Georgia might provide Far East countries with armored vehicles
LEPL State Military Scientific-Technical Center "Delta" might provide several Far East countries with armored vehicles, - “Delta” has informed InterPressNews about it.
Who can be the next first lady of Georgia?
On the 28th of October, presidential elections will be held in Georgia. The last elections in October 2013 resulted in a victory for Giorgi Margvelashvili, a candidate of the Georgian Dream (the ruling party).
Another Georgian kidnapped at the occupational line, stays detained
Maia Otinashvili (a mother of three children) was detained in her own garden on the 19th of September. Eyewitnesses claim that she was kidnapped by armed people with masks.
Fight broke out in the Georgian TV show
Fight in the Georgian Show Archevani (a choice) broke out between the guests yesterday.
7 amendments that come in force today in Georgia
On the 1st of October, 7 new amendments come in force in Georgia.
Speaker of the parliament plays Knockin' on Heaven's Door
What do the politicians do when they have free time? It is an interesting issue in every country.
What are the new New Year decorations for Tbilisi
New Year decorations and its price in Tbilisi is always a matter of discussion in the capital.
Mamuka Bakhtadze gives a speech at the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly
Mamuka Bakhtadze, the prime minister of Georgia is attending the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly from the 24th of September.
Georgia will ban use, import and production of plastic bags
The Georgian government has decided to tighten rules regulating use of plastic bags in Georgia.
The parliament returns to Tbilisi
The Parliament of Georgia will continue working in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia from January 2019. Currently, the building is located in Kutaisi (west Georgia).
Mamuka Bakhtadze is visiting the USA within the working visit
The Georgian PM Mamuka Bakhtadze Brought a wreath to the tomb of the Georgian military serviceman John Malkhaz Shalikashvili.
Use of plastic bags to be reduced from the 1st of October
Within the framework of the Green Economics and Environmental Protection Policy the Georgian government has approved new regulations
Four Russian Journalists have not been allowed to enter Georgia
Three members of the Russian delegation were not allowed to enter Georgia as this would have violated the Law on the Occupied Territories of Georgia.
Tbilisi sign may appear on the Funicular hill
Hollywood has become a source of inspiration for many people worldwide. A similar idea from a Tbilisi citizen sounds very clever and attractive.
Russia was at an undeclared war with Georgia for years - Matthew Bryza
I think anybody who has observed how Russia has been conducting its war in Ukraine should realize that Russia was at war with Georgia, an undeclared war for years,
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Exchange Rates
GEL Exchange Rate
Convertor
16.11.2018
17.11.2018
USD
1
USD
2.6818
2.6727
EUR
1
EUR
3.0299
3.0268
GBP
1
GBP
3.4332
3.4240
RUB
100
RUB
4.0185
4.0447
Other Stories
On 26 May, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, joined celebrations in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi
Violation of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity by Assad regime has been strictly criticized
Exactly one year ago, Georgia was granted visa-free travel with the European Union.
Georgia’s ex-president president Mikheil Saakashvili's supporters managed to free detained Mikheil Saakashvili in the center of Kiev.
The US Ambassador to Georgia Ian Kelly congratulates Georgia on Independence Day.
The regulations on the introduction of visa-free travel for citizens of Georgia have been officially signed in Brussels.
The entire Georgia is involved in Secret Santa game, which means that people are sending gifts to each other secretly
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia is taking part in NATO Ministerial underway in Brussels, Belgium.
A special squad has been mobilized at the 48th polling station in Marneuli, Kvemo Kartli region.
Two politicians in Georgia have come to blows during a live TV debate ahead of the country’s parliamentary elections, Euronews reports.
GEL Exchange
USD
1
USD
2.6727
EUR
1
EUR
3.0268
GBP
1
GBP
3.4240
RUB
100
RUB
4.0447
November 2018
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4
5 6 7 8 9 10 11
12 13 14 15 16 17 18
19 20 21 22 23 24 25
26 27 28 29 30