Council of Europe Anti-racism Commission on Georgia’s implementation of recommendations

ECRI provided 23 recommendations to the country’s authorities back in 2016, two out of which should have been followed up after two years. Photo: N.Alavidze/, 06 Mar 2019 - 01:13, Tbilisi,Georgia

The European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI), the Council of Europe’s independent human rights monitoring body, says Georgia still needs to implement two of its “priority recommendations”.

ECRI provided 23 recommendations to the country’s authorities back in 2016, two of which should have been followed up on after two years.

ECRI explained on 5 March that two years after the publication of each report, it "[asks] the government what has been done in connection with the recommendations for which priority follow-up was requested".

In particular, ECRI had recommended that:

  • the Georgian authorities set up a specialised unit within the police to deal specifically with racist and homophobic and transphobic hate crime, which ECRI considers to be partially implemented;
  • the Georgian authorities scale up their support for the Council of Religions, which operates under the auspices of the Public Defender’s Tolerance Centre, which ECRI considers not to be implemented.

In its conclusions published on 5 March,  ECRI said although a human rights department was established in Georgia's Ministry of Internal Affairs last January,  ECRI has not received any information about its co-operation with LGBT NGOs.

The new department was created to review hate crime investigations, not to carry them out. It therefore does not constitute a dedicated reinforcement of hate crime investigation capacity at law enforcement level", ECRI stated.

Welcoming the establishment of the department as “a very positive step”, the ECRI expressed hope that the above mentioned groups would also be included in the department's "co-operation work."

ECRI further noted that State Agency for Religious Issues, which the Georgian authorities consider “to be the main interlocutor between religious communities” should mediate “in cases of problems related to religious affairs or inter-religious tensions.”

However, according to ECRI “the only example provided by the authorities of co-operation consists of the State Agency reviewing documents produced by the Council of Religions”, which ECRI finds to be “a rather minimal level of interaction between the two bodies.”

Moreover, the authorities refer to tensions between the Council of Religions and the State Agency, in particular that some members of the Council allegedly advocate for the abolition of State Agency, but without providing further details as to the reasons for such lack of trust in the State Agency,” the statement reads.

Thus, ECRI concluded that “the situation that had originally given rise to this priority recommendation persists and that the State Agency for Religious Issues has not taken any serious steps to cooperate with the Council of Religions, as recommended by ECRI.