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NGOs Call on Zourabichvili Not to Appoint Dimitry Gabunia as Parliamentary Secretary

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, December 10
Women’s Movement and part of the non-governmental organizations call on the President-elect Salome Zourabichvili to reconsider candidacy of a lawyer Dimitry Gabunia on the post of the President’s Parliamentary Secretary.

The NGOs released a joint statement in which they congratulate Zourabichvili on winning the elections and becoming the first female president in the history of independent Georgia.

However, the authors of the letter remind Zourabichvili that Gabunia made an inappropriate and unacceptable statement while commenting on the case of Zviad Devdariani, the head of a prominent Georgian NGO CIDA after allegations of sexual harassment and assault emerged against him.

"What did he [Devdariani] do which any of us has not done?" Several months ago Dimitry Gabunia responded to the complaints filed against Devdariani with this phrase,” the authors of the statement stressed.

The NGOs explain that the Public Defender of Georgia found Devdariani guilty in sexual harassment into three cases.

“It was very hard for us to hear that Dimitry Gabunia’s candidacy is being discussed as the parliamentary secretary of the newly elected president of Georgia. Members of the Women's Movement and other civil organizations think that such a high and responsible position in the public service should not be occupied by a gender-insensitive person who considers sexual harassment as a normal practice,” the statement reads.

The NGOs expressed hope the president will support all legislative and other initiatives aimed at strengthening women and girls and that she will use “all kinds of leverage, tools and political influence to eradicate any kind of violence against women.”

It is not yet decided who will become the Parliamentary Secretary of the President but as Georgian media reports Gabunia might be appointed on this position as he demonstrated clear support to Zourabichvili and assisted her during the election campaign.

"It is under discussion. Nobody has been appointed yet. The process is underway and as soon as a final decision is made, I will inform you. I do not rule it out,” President-elect commented on the issue earlier last week.