Georgian Gov’t on Human Rights Court decision regarding anti-Jehovah's Witnesses violence in 2000-2001

“These moves reinforce Georgia’s commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights and its other international obligations,” is said in the statement., 09 Oct 2014 - 03:18, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Georgian Government is reacting to the verdict reached by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) in which judges said severe harassment of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Georgia was tolerated by authorities in 2000-2001.

"The Government of Georgia accepts with great seriousness Tuesday’s judgment and will ensure that the victims are rapidly provided the due remedies as laid out in the judgment,” read the statement published on the official website of the Georgian Government on October 8.

The court made a decision on the case Begheluri and Others v. Georgia on October 7 and ruled that Georgia was to pay each of those 99 applicants, with regard to whom it had found a violation of the Convention, €350 (about 780 GEL) in respect of non-pecuniary damage and €15,000 (about 33,000 GEL) to the applicants jointly in respect of costs and expenses.

"Georgia is firmly committed to protecting freedom of thought, conscience and religion, as well as human rights in general. The country is determined to ensure equality before the law and accountability for human rights abuses. In particular, it will never again allow a climate of impunity or toleration towards such abuses,” read the Georgian Government’s statement.

It underlined that "Georgia will make sure that individuals are accountable for violations and injustices in the past, irrespective of whether those responsible were state officials”.

The statement also noted that Georgia adopted the National Human Rights Strategy for 2014-2020 in April "in order to bring Georgia’s legal and human rights culture in line with European standards”.

"It places particular priority on physical and personal freedom, as well as political and social-economic rights. A comprehensive Action Plan, to be executed this year and next, will ensure that all parts of the government will be held accountable for upholding the Strategy.”

As an example of the Government’s ambition in this field, the Law of Georgia on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination adopted by Parliament in May 2014 was also mentioned.

"These moves reinforce Georgia’s commitment to the European Convention on Human Rights and its other international obligations,” the Georgian Government said in the statement.

"In particular, the Association Agreement signed with the European Union in June 2014 and which we are now implementing, specifies respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as the rule of law.”