UN expert raises alarm on arbitrary restrictions in Georgia
There are a number of worrying signs that indicate that the focus on greater modernization and investment can easily derail the human rights achievements, says UN expert Maina Kiai.
Friday, 17 February 2012, by OHCHR Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Maina KiaiUnited Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, voiced alarm at the increasing climate of fear and intimidation against opposition parties, labour unions and members of non-governmental organizations.
At the end of his eight-day mission to Georgia, Maina Kiai warned that a number of restrictive legislative amendments adopted in late December 2011 by the Parliament of Georgia restricted the freedom of association.
“It is clear that all these restrictive efforts have been put in place to deliberately prevent and restrict certain individuals from standing in the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections,” the expert said.
Georgia“The role of freedom of association in this context is to give hope to any political party that it can genuinely compete in elections. In the case of Georgia, there is an unequal political playing field.”
FINDINGS READY IN JUNE
The rights expert drew special attention to the deliberate use of administrative detentions and sentences of up to 90 days without adequate procedural safeguards in Georgia.
“I am alarmed by the frequency of consistently resorting to this form of detention, especially for dealing with protesters,” he said.
“Considering the overwhelming cases of allegations of acts of violence and ill-treatment by law enforcement officials against protesters, these measures can trigger a chilling effect on any activist on the ground willing to express dissent through a peaceful assembly,” the independent expert concluded.
The Special Rapporteur will present the comprehensive findings of his mission at the June 2012 session of the Human Rights Council.
OHCHR Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
Preliminary findings on the visit to Georgia:
The Special Rapporteur has published a statement on his preliminary findings of his visit to Georgia, restrictions of peaceful assemblies, the right to form trade unions, the unequal political playing field.