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EU Embassies to Georgia Gov’t: Recent Events ‘Cast Shadow Over EU-Georgia Relations’

The EU Delegation to Georgia and 24 embassies of EU Member States have addressed today a strongly-worded letter to the Georgian Government, sharing their concerns about “recent events that have cast a shadow over EU-Georgia relations and Georgia’s image as a country upholding basic human rights.”

The letter was written to Interior Minister Vakhtang Gomelauri, but the signatories said “recognizing the wider responsibilities of the Government of Georgia, we are also copying the Prime Minister and the Ministers of Justice and Foreign Affairs.”

The diplomatic missions said the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression constitute key universal human rights, also protected under the Georgian Constitution. “Yet, on 5 July, the participants of LGBTQI+ Tbilisi Pride were unable to exercise these rights in the face of imminent threats to their safety.”

We embassies regretted that “the authorities did not call publicly for the protection of those peacefully marking Pride events, take other necessary actions to prevent or deter hate driven speech or, in the end, provide sufficient protection as violent acts against activists and journalists were carried out.”

The letter said the counter-demonstrators on July 5 conducted organized violence targeting civic activists and journalists, with “physical infringements on the safety of both groups” being alarming.  “Journalists must be able to carry out their job safely and securely in any democracy… We mourn the tragic death of TV cameraman Lekso Lashkarava and await the results of the investigation into the cause of his death.”

The letter underscored that the universality and indivisibility of human rights for all, without distinction, are shared by both the EU and Georgia, and that these values are enshrined in the EU-Georgia Association Agreement and the European Convention on Human Rights.

Noting that “intensified rhetoric against these values also poses a national security risk, increasing the vulnerability of Georgia’s democracy, already faced with significant disinformation challenges,” the letter’s signatories called for “further immediate and appropriate political and legal actions.” “All violent incidents and criminal acts need to be effectively and quickly investigated and duly prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

The Embassies further noted with alarm the desecration of the Council of Europe/European Union flag outside the Parliament of Georgia, stating that “this flag represents the fundamental values on which the European Union and EU-Georgia relations are built.” “The attacks on the flag on two occasions are, therefore, also direct attacks on Georgia’s democratic and pro-European aspirations.”

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)


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