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Protest Against Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee

By Vladimer Napetvaridze
Wednesday, May 2
On May 1st, two demonstrations were held in front of the Parliament simultaneously. The members of the first rally were representatives of the organization "Equality Movement" who protested the statement of the chairperson of Parliament's Human Rights Committee Sopo Kiladze.They protested the decision of the Human Rights Committee to not mark May 17th, the international day against homophobia.

Representatives of the counter-meeting were those against marking the international day against homophobia. They threw eggs to the members of the first meeting and stated that they wouldn't allow celebrating May 17. Three people were detained after the fact.

Several participants of the rally attended a meeting of the committee later on. They demanded an explanation of committee's decision to cancel all the events planned for May 17. Kiladze responded that according to the Constitution of Georgia every citizen is equal. She didn’t provide any specific reason why the Human Rights Committee changed its opinion about the May 17.

Everything started after Kiladze made a statement on April 30, saying that the Human Rights Committee does not intend to mark the international day against homophobia, despite the fact that it was written in 2017-2020 action plan. In response to this decision, the chairperson of the Human Rights Committee Kiladze provided a vague explanation: "We are not going to mark this day. It is our decision either to mark it or not. This is my answer but you don't like it," Kiladze told the news agency "Liberali".

The Human Rights Committee adopted and presented the 2017-2020 action plan in 2017. One of the chapters reads: "marking days against violation of the human rights will increase solidarity and respect to the victims of violence and raise public awareness about this issue. In this process, in order to jointly organize public events, the Committee should cooperate with civil society organizations.”

The attitude of the Committee has changed, causing the protest in a part of the society. However, in response to the protest, the chairman of the committee said that the statement was not homophobic and the committee protects the rights of each citizen: "Our duty is to protect the rights of every citizen and no homophobic statements have been made. I can only say that everyone has the right to hold the demonstration," said Kiladze.

For the past few years, May 17 has been associated with confrontation and protest meetings in Georgia. In 2013, a few thousand citizens dispersed a small protest meeting against homophobia, after this fact, the government pays special attention to the May 17 to avoid possible tensions. The Parliament adopted an action plan to undertake measures to increase public awareness. Despite the fact that the document was approved, the Human Rights Committee, decided to not mark May 17, the international day against homophobia. The only explanation made by the chairperson of the committee was that it is their decision to mark the day or not.

Kiladze’s response does not require a thorough analysis, but it is important that the Members of Parliament, especially the chairperson of the committee knows they have a responsibility to protect the interests of the society and to inform the population about each decision made.