22 June 2009, 15:04
Statement against Political Persecutions in Georgia
From: South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders
To: Georgian Authorities
The South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders is a network of 30 well established independent non-governmental organizations from the region of the South Caucasus, supporting human rights defenders in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The Network is impartial as between the viewpoint, status, position affiliation and nationality of the actor or victim.
The South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders is extremely concerned about the arrests of activists of Georgian opposition political parties and violence used against them. These events have been continuing during last two months, starting from the kick off of the public demonstrations on 9 April 2009 and escalating recently.
We are particularly concerned about the following facts that have been documented by local civil society organizations:
- Physical abuses of demonstrators - Participants in the demonstrations have been targeted by unidentified persons, who often in masks. Demonstrators have been bitten and threatened for the worst consequences if they continue to take part in the demonstrations;
- Arrests of activists - Several dozen activists of opposition political parties have been arrested in last two months. Apart from the violations of procedural guarantees, based on the contextual circumstances these arrests are politically motivated;
- Provoked acts between demonstrators and representatives of law enforcement agencies - There have been several instances where law enforcement agencies intentionally provoked tensions with participants in the demonstrations, followed by administrative detentions.
Each of the abovementioned acts is a blatant violation of the human rights of the political activist concerned. Moreover, politically motivated persecutions hamper the development processes in the country and contribute to the polarization of the government and general public.
South Caucasus Network of Human Rights Defenders calls upon Georgian Authorities to:
- Investigate all acts of attacks on the demonstrators and punish those responsible;
- Release those activists who are detained on political grounds in relation to their political activities and put an end to the political arrests;
- Ensure that clashes between the representatives of the law enforcement agencies and demonstrators are minimized and use administrative detention as a least resort in case of disobedience from the side on demonstrators;
- Respect the rights of the political activists as guaranteed by the Georgian Constitution and international treaties ratified by Georgian.