Public Defender Calls on Authorities to Protect Freedom of Expression of LGBT+ Community
On 4 November 2019, the Public Defender addressed the Prime Minister and the Minister of Internal Affairs with a general proposal to discuss individual cases of violation of freedom of expression and freedom of assembly of the LGBT+ community in the recent years at the state level and to plan preventive and reactive measures in this direction.
In the general proposal, the Public Defender reviewed the situation of realization of freedom of expression of LGBT+ community in the country, referring to the cases that took place from September 2018 to July 2019. In particular, she focused on the prohibition of LGBT+ symbols at the football stadium on 9 September 2018, the developments around the pride march scheduled for 18-23 June 2019 and the enhancement of homophobic ultra-right-wing groups. According to the Public Defender, it is clear that the measures taken by the Ministry of Internal Affairs for the protection of LGBT+ people’s freedom of expression are vague and do not prove the existence of a systemic view relating to the protection of human rights or analysis of potential consequences of the cases.
The document also indicates that the Ministry of Internal Affairs cosniders the dangers, which come from specific groups and are aimed at restricting the freedom of expression of LGBT+ people and their supporters, and the freedom of expression of human rights defenders and and equality supporters in one and the same legal framework.
In the general proposal, the Public Defender also emphasized the obligation of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to protect the safety of journalists; ensure that journalists can smoothly perform their professional duties; and provide timely and adequate legal response to the cases of illegal interference with journalists’s professional activities.
In light of the above, the Public Defender urged officials to take effective preventive and proactive measures to protect the freedom of expression of LGBT+ people and to effectively investigate the incidents that took place in front of the governmental chancellery on 14 June 2018 and complinace of Levan Vasadze's statements with the law, and to provide the public with information about the progress of the investigation.