Platform "No-to-Phobia!" responds to the statement made by Irakli Gharibashvili

The civil society platform "No to Phobia!" is extremely alarmed by the statement of the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, made on September 3, 2021, that increases degree of the polarization in the society and violent homophobic sentiments.

According to Irakli Gharibashvili, the "March of Dignity" scheduled for July 5, 2021 rather than being a realization of the right of assembly and demonstration of the LGBTQ + members, was a provocation planned by the National Movement and a well-organized insidious conspiracy against the Georgian state. It should be noted that the Prime Minister of Georgia negatively assesses the actions of the violent groups only in the context of an aggression towards journalists but does not consider an inability of the LGBTQ + members to realize their right to the freedom of assembly and the demonstration and the failure of the government to ensure its positive obligation and protect the safety of the LGBTQ + members as inconsistent with the liberal-democratic state. Additionally, in the run-up to the local elections, and in the context of the strong homophobic sentiments in the certain circles of the society, the Prime Minister's statement contains elements of populism that are incompatible with the Western values, which turns the homophobic statements into the instrument of the political struggle.

It should also be noted that September 3 statement contained false information. According to the Prime Minister, "all perpetrators have been arrested and punished", however, in reality, in the context of the current investigation, no one has been punished so far, and some of the perpetrators, including the organizers, have not been arrested yet. Such statements expose political will of the authorities aimed at creating an illusion of responding to a crime and not punishing the organizers of violence. Furthermore, the stated approach encourages violence based on homophobic grounds.

Prime Minister's antagonistic and intolerant attitude towards the members of the LGBTQ + community was evident in the statement made at a government sitting on July 12, 2021 when he said the following: "When 95% of our population is opposed to the demonstration and an openly propagandistic march or parade, we, my friends, must obey their wishes". The statement made by the Prime Minister on the morning of July 5 is particularly alarming. Prime Minister factually gave the green light to the perpetrators and clearly stated that, "Today's rally could turn into a civil strife. Evidently, holding the rally is unacceptable for most of the population. Therefore, I believe that the demonstration should not be held on the Rustaveli Avenue.”

Ongoing political and legal processes in Georgia and similar statements made by government officials show that the government is openly refusing a proper realization of the rule of law and the protection of the fundamental human rights, which in turn undermines liberal-democratic foundations of the state and further hampers the country's Euro-Atlantic integration.

Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI)

Media Development Fund (MDF)

Human Rights Center (HRC)

Georgian Strategic Analysis Center (GSAC)

International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)

Tbilisi Pride

Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI)

Institute for Democracy and Safe Development (IDSD)

Georgia’s Reforms Associates (GRASS)

Rights Georgia