‘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.



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.


Other Stories
International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center publishes fresh survey
A new nationwide public opinion survey of Georgian citizens by the International Republican Institute’s (IRI) Center for Insights in Survey Research
First comments made after Strasbourg Court’s decision over Rustavi 2
Rustavi 2 TV shareholder Kibar Khalvashi made first comment about the Strasbourg Court’s decision over Rustavi 2.
Bidzina Ivanishvili: "Who want closure of Russian market, are Georgia’s enemies"
Those, who tell-tale that we must replace the Russian market by the European and Ukrainian ones, are absolutely ignorant and uneducated,
Why Georgia is changing the mixed electoral system in favor of the proportional?
The Chairman of the Parliament Archil Talakvadze explained why Georgia has to change its mixed electoral system in favor of the proportional.
Why was the Ambassador of Georgia summoned to Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry - what does Azeri media say?
Azeri media has released information about the ambassador of Georgia being called at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan.
Georgian side denies accusations against the Azeri border guards
Georgian citizens provoked an incident against Shamkir border group of Border Troops of the State Border Service of Azerbaijan (SBS)
Donald Tusk: "The collapse of the Soviet Union was very positive"
I want to say loudly from this tribune - the collapse of the Soviet Union was very positive, - Donald Tusk,
Donald Tusk reads a quote from Vazha Pshavela’s letter in Georgian
President of the Council of Europe Donald Tusk read a quote from Georgian writer
Economist: “An unwelcome Russian visitor has helped to revive an old antagonism”
Economist has recently published an article reviewing the recent events taking place in Georgia.
Russian Duma supports sanctions against Georgia, President Putin opposes
The Russian Duma supported sanctions against Georgia.
Prosecutor: Individuals planned to overthrow the state government
On the night of 20th of June, 2019, individuals were planned to violently overthrow the state government through uprising,
Court releases Nika Melia on GEL 30, 000 bail
The Tbilisi City Court sentenced Nika Melia to GEL 30, 000 bail at today’s court hearing.
Parliament suspends Nika Melia's MP's immunity
Nika Melia, the member of the opposition “United National Movement” party, has arrived at Tbilisi City Court.
"Russian Church blackmails Georgian Patriarchate" - Claims Ukraine's Rada member
Victor Yelenskyj was the head of the Ukrainian delegation at that fateful Interparliamentary Ortho­dox Assembly in Tbilisi that sparked the protests still ongoing to this day.
What the Protests in Tbilisi Mean for Relations with Russia
The protests in the center of Tbilisi over the Russian MP’s presence in Georgian parliament caused a nation-wide outburst against the ruling Georgian Dream party and Russia.
Government agrees to one of the protesters demands: Proportional Elections in 2020
The government has agreed to hold proportional parliamentary elections in Georgia in 2020.
Russia bans flights to Georgia from July 8
Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree yesterday prohibiting Russian airlines from carrying Russian citizens to Georgia from July 8.
Zakaria Kutsnashvili renounces his MP mandate
Zakaria Kutsnashvili, who was the head of the Georgian delegation in the Inter-parliamentary Session on Orthodoxy, has renounced his MP mandate.
Police use teargas, rubber bullets against protesters, says Human Rights Watch
Riot police in Tbilisi fired rubber bullets and used teargas without warning against thousands of nonviolent protesters
Russian lawmaker demands “official apology” from Tbilisi
Tbilisi should give its formal apology to Russia for the provocations against Russian delegates in the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy,
Georgian police used teargas, rubber Bullets and water cannon against protesters
Police in Georgia used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon to stop protesters entering the country’s parliament on Friday.
Gavrilov: "Russia and Georgia are united by the brotherly orthodox union"
The citizens of Georgia are protesting against the conduct of the Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy in Georgia, which was led by Russian Deputy Sergey Gavrilov.
Inter-Parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy canceled following public outrage
The session of Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy held at Parliament of Georgia has been canceled after the protest.
The Russian deputy in the Chairman’s chair of the Parliament of Georgia
The Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy is taking place between the 19th and 22nd of June in Tbilisi.
Michael Carpenter about Georgia's open policy with Russia
Michael Carpenter has recently tweeted about Georgia's open policy with Russia.
GEL Exchange Rate
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
July 2019
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 31