The United Nations and the European Union representation in Georgia, along with 28 foreign embassies in the country, on Wednesday welcomed the increased public support for the protection of minority rights in Georgia but expressed concerns of “stalled progress” in ensuring their protection.
In their joint message on International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia, the missions said the number of the country’s citizens agreeing with the necessity of protection of LGBTQI+ rights had doubled since 2015, and welcomed protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and expression in the domestic legislation since 2014.
We acknowledge the efforts of various state institutions and civil society organisations in ensuring full protection of human rights and freedoms”, the statement said, while noting “despite these efforts, progress has stalled”.
Queer communities across the country “continue to experience prejudice, discrimination, stigma, hostility and violence on a daily basis”, the release noted.
Joined by the European Investment Bank’s Regional Representation for the South Caucasus and the Head of the EU Monitoring mission in Georgia, they said recently adopted national policy documents - the 2022-2030 National Human Rights Strategy, the State Concept of Georgia on Gender Equality and the national development strategy Vision 2030 - failed to include measures to strengthen protection and inclusion of LGBTQI+ persons.
We call on Georgia, a country aspiring to become an EU candidate country, to align state policy & practice with Georgia’s international commitments to safeguard the rights of LGBTQI+ persons & promote an inclusive society.— EU Delegation Georgia ???????? (@EUinGeorgia) May 17, 2023
Joint statement: https://t.co/s4xs8pOXrZ#IDAHOBIT2023 pic.twitter.com/cGg5gXtbQr
Stigmatisation, discriminatory language and hate speech by some public officials, politicians, media and religious figures “also incite further harassment against LGBTQI+ persons and threaten their lives”, they added.
The missions also said “[i]nstigators and many perpetrators of open acts of violence against LGBTQI+ individuals in recent years” had not faced justice, specifically noting attacks by right-wing protesters on reporters and offices of the Tbilisi Pride Week festival in 2021.
The signatories have called on state authorities as well as political, civic and religious leaders to “stand up and speak out against hate, discrimination and violence” and to work together with the LGBTQI+ communities to ensure “full enjoyment of everyone’s rights”.
They also urged the Government to “align state policy and practice with Georgia’s international commitments to safeguard the rights of LGBTQI+ community”.