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Georgia: A Flickering Beacon of Democracy

22.02.2008
Introduction

In 2004, in line with the positive changes in the country, we pointed out the human rights violations which took place after the “Rose Revolution”. Most of the people did not dare speak of them. We dared to tell the truth. “One Step Forward – Two Steps Back” was the name of the human rights report the Human Rights Centre published in December, 2004. As antidemocratic tendencies developed further, our reaction was immediate. The report produced in 2005 was called “Next Stop – Belarus?” Many people considered this title to be an exaggeration of the situation and were irritated by it. The reason for using this title was to send a wake-up call to Georgians and the international community. In 2007, we talked about the “Velvet Downfall”.

In November 2007, many people stated that if adequate attention had been paid to the alarming signals, the country would not have had to face the November events. Some of them apologized because they had not believed the information we had provided about Georgia earlier. We were trying to speak the truth, which has caused problems for us.

“A Flickering Beacon of Democracy” attempts to cover the main human rights that were under threat during the reporting period. The report describes the events that led to the violent dispersal of the demonstration on November 7th, 2007 and the cruel dispersal itself. Moreover, it provides an assessment of human rights violations.

The report provides an assessment of three phases of the Presidential Elections of January 5th, 2008. Particular attention is paid to the abuse of administrative resources as well as direct and indirect threats from governmental representatives. In addition, the report describes various techniques used during the Election Day as well as violations of the election procedure that took place after the Election Day.

Furthermore, the report highlights issues such as: the aggressive policy of seizing property from owners without compensation; the zero-tolerance criminal justice policy and its consequences with respect to crime prevention and rehabilitation of offenders; the deteriorating state of freedom of speech and expression, particularly the problems media representatives are facing in everyday practice; the straightforward militarization policy of the government and the problems that several thousands of refugees of Chechen origin are facing in Georgia.

The Human Rights Centre, in cooperation with the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT) and the Public Health and Medicine Development Centre of Georgia (PHMDF) prepared a “shadow report” for the third periodic report of the Georgian Government before the UN Committee on the Rights of Child. To increase public knowledge on the children’s rights situation in Georgia, it was decided to include an abbreviated version of the “shadow report” in this report.

Georgia: A Flickering Beacon of Democracy

Human Rights Center


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