NGOs: imposing curfew is unconstitutional

Curfew is in effect in Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi, Rustavi, Zugdidi, Gori and Poti between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Photo: Nino Alavidze/, 11 Nov 2020 - 17:53, Tbilisi,Georgia

Several Georgian NGOs have released a statement claiming that the imposition of curfew in seven large cities in Georgia including the capital of Tbilisi starting November 9 is unconstitutional.

The Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI), International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED), Human Rights Centre (HRC) and Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia) say that the government does not have the legislative authority to restrict freedom of movement. 

Moreover, this step is perceived as an attempt to suppress the current wave of (opposition) protests,” says a joint statement released by the NGOs.

The NGOs say that the government used Article 453 of the Law of Georgia on Public Health to impose the restriction, which was adopted by the parliament of Georgia in an expedited manner on May 22, 2020. 

Opposition took to the street following the elections. Photo: Nino Alavidze/ 

The law allowed the government to impose various restrictions without the parliament’s consent. 

The NGOs say that the law itself is unconstitutional as it ‘never specifies preconditions and the scope of restrictions.’ 

All the four NGOs were against imposing a curfew also in the spring of 2020.

Although the epidemiological situation has deteriorated, surfew is not an effective, necessary and proportionate measure of public health protection,” say the NGOs, adding that the measure is perceived ‘as an attempt of the government to disrupt democratic processes and to fight the wave of protests.’ 

Starting November 9, a curfew went into effect in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Batumi, Rustavi, Zugdidi, Gori and Poti between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. amid an uptick in coronavirus cases.