Public Defender Addresses Minister of Internal Affairs with Recommendation concerning Inadequate Examination of Alleged Sexual Harassment
On January 22, 2019, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia with a recommendation regarding the inadequate examination of the alleged case of sexual harassment (failure to fulfill its positive obligation).
The grounds for the recommendation was the application of a Spanish citizen, who referred to the alleged case of sexual harassment at the King Erekle bath. According to the actual circumstances described, the bathhouse attendant (man) required only women to fully take off their clothes and was trying to touch their breasts. According to the applicant, they called Patrol Police, but they failed to respond properly.
The Public Defender addressed the Ministry of Internal Affairs three times to properly examine the alleged sexual harassment. However, the Ministry failed to establish the fact of sexual harassment, which was explained by the argument that the applicant denied sexual harassment during questioning. However, the factual circumstances identified by the Public Defender as a result of questioning the applicant, the respondent and the third parties indicated the opposite, after which, the Public Defender repeatedly called on the Ministry to respond to the case effectively.
According to the Public Defender, the Ministry of Internal Affairs failed to fulfil its positive obligation under Article 1661 of the Administrative Offences Code, that is to effectively inquire into alleged sexual harassment. Therefore, the Public Defender recommended the Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia to re-examine thoroughly the alleged case of sexual harassment, to inquire into alleged misconduct of the employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs involved in the examination of the mentioned case, as well as to provide/continue providing trainings for the staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs responsible for responding to alleged cases of sexual harassment, with the aim to provide comprehensive information on the psychological aspects of communicating with victims of sexual harassment.
The Public Defender of Georgia also expressed her readiness to continue participating in the trainings provided for the staff of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia.