Human Rights House Foundation and Human Rights House Tbilisi express concern at the recent handling of peaceful protests in Georgia.
On the evening of 20 June, some 10,000 protestors gathered in front of the Georgian Parliament in Tbilisi to peacefully protest. However, as a response to some protestors trying to enter Parliament, security forces responded with indiscriminate use of rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons against protestors and bystanders alike.
240 people were transferred to medical facilities. At least two people were blinded, including an 18-year-old female. In addition, more than 30 journalists and media representatives were injured. The most serious injuries were caused by rubber bullets used by the police officers.
The excessive use of force by the police against civilians, including peaceful protestors, was not warranted.
The lack of advanced warning being given to protesters of such weapons being used, and the use of rubber bullets to target vital organs of civilians, are just two of the most obvious contraventions of the rights of the protestors.
We urge Georgia to ensure that its security services do not use such methods of crowd control, and that any use of force is only justifiable in exceptional circumstances and governed by necessity and human rights norms.
We call on Georgia to carry out a thorough investigation into rights violations, and to ensure that freedom of association and assembly is assured for all Georgians in the future.
Top photo: Human Rights House Foundation