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The News in Brief

Friday, May 13
BP Magazine shows the best of Georgia

An international magazine by the British Petroleum (BP) Group has published a special edition about Georgia highlighting the rich heritage of the country and BP’s activities here.

The article stated BP and its partners were now working on a new project that represented the single largest foreign investment in Georgia at $2 billion USD over the next four years.

The project aimed to extend Georgia’s role in transporting oil and gas to Europe.

“Situated at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, Georgia is set to broaden its vital role in the transportation of hydrocarbons from the resource-rich Caspian Sea to markets farther west. A new $2 billion USD project with BP and its co-venturers is helping to secure the country’s place as an important business hub in the region, as well as strengthen its ties with partners beyond,” said the article.

Along with neighbouring Azerbaijan, Georgia is at the "top end” – close to the hydrocarbon source – of the Southern Gas Corridor (SCP) that will deliver vast quantities of Caspian gas to Turkey and on to Europe.

As well as expanding part of the existing SCP, the development meant two new gas compressor stations for the country – facilities that will require new skills to operate new technology.

The BP magazine also highlighted closer ties between Georgia and the European Union (EU) and said the bilateral relations deepened in June 2014 when Georgia signed its Association Agreement (AA) with the EU.

BP also reviewed Georgia as a touristic hot-spot and showcased the main attractions of capital Tbilisi and the Black Sea resort town Batumi.

“There is the charm of winding alleyways and the dome-shaped sulphur baths that jut out like giant beehives in the old town, in contrast to the daring modern architecture on the banks of the Mtkvari River, with the glass Bridge of Peace and curious tubular design of the newest concert hall. However, Tbilisi does have to vie for visitor attention with another destination, a five-hour drive west to the shores of the Black Sea,” said BP.

Among its other social investment projects in Georgia, BP focused on education. Its longest-running partnership in this area was with the British Council providing English language training for media professionals – something it has done since 2005. (

Georgia has become a more dangerous place for gays: Rights group

The human rights of gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities are being less protected in Georgia, according to the organization ILGA, which monitors the situation internationally.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA Europe) ranks countries in terms of how well they protect the human rights of sexual minorities. In its latest ranking list, Georgia’s rank worsened to 30th among 49 states, while last year Georgia was in 22nd place.

The organization’s latest report, Rainbow Europe 2016, which describes the situation in 2015, states that the biggest challenges in Georgia are the safety of LGBT activists, hate speech and threatening statements.

The report refers to politicians who engage in hate speech against LGBT activists and the LGBT community.

“Parliament’s deputy speaker Manana Kobakhidze (Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia) commented on Facebook that 'Even if we are left alone in this world, if all of our friends, partners or allies turn away from us, I will still say that legalising same-sex marriage is a big mistake,' the report recalls. Kobakhidze was responding to the news that same-sex marriage had been legalized in all U.S. states in June.

“Similar remarks were made by Patriarch Ilia II during his sermon at Tbilisi’s Holy Trinity Cathedral. Then Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili (Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia) stated that ‘…I, as Prime Minister and a citizen of Georgia, will do everything for adopting the record in the constitution that marriage and family is the union of woman and man!’ in an interview with the Asaval Dasavali newspaper.”

The report also focuses on a decision by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg in 2015 that Georgian police failed to carry out their duty on May 17, 2012, and should have protected activists for IDAHOT – International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia.

“The Court acknowledged for the first time that a bias-motivated attack on a peaceful protest contravened Article 3 of the Convention,” it says.

ILGA Europe describes cases of LGBT activists being attacked and threatened, as well as the murder of transgender woman Sabi Beriani and the fact that the person who was charged in this case was sentenced to only four years in jail.

“A man was acquitted of the murder in November 2014 of a Georgian trans woman. On 7 August, Levan Kochlashvili was sentenced to four years imprisonment for assaulting a second trans woman on the same evening as the murder and for arson offences.”

Malta, Belgium and the U.K. are at the top of ILGA Europe’s list over how well human rights are protected, while Turkey, Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan are at bottom of the list.

In the ranking, Georgia scored better than Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Italy, Romania and Bulgaria. (