European court condemns Georgia’s failure to protect IDAHOT march
The European Court of Human Rights has ruled that the country of Georgia failed to protect marchers from violence in 2012.
The march to mark the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) in the Georgian capital city of Tbilisi was blocked by anti-protesters and Orthodox priests, who shouted homophobic abuse.
It soon turned violent, and marchers were arrested as a “protective measure”, despite the anti-gay protesters being the aggressors.
The court ruled that the Georgian authorities did not provide enough police officers to supervise the march, and did not take enough action before hand to ensure a peaceful march, despite having plenty of notice.
The judgement says: “Given the attitudes in parts of Georgian society towards sexual minorities, the authorities knew or should have known of the risk of tensions associated with the march. They had thus been under an obligation to use any means possible to ensure that it could be held peacefully.”
It also ruled that the Georgian government should award damages to the 13 attendees who had brought the case.
ILGA-Europe said it was a positive judgement, but more needed to be done to prevent a repeat. The same march in 2013 also faced violence.
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In a statement ILGA-Europe said: “The unease surrounding LGBTI events must cease.
“We are reminded of the strong words from political leaders in the wake of violent clashes which marred the 2013 IDAHOT events in Tbilisi. Prime Minister Ivanishvili issued a call for tolerance and respect for the democratic rights of all; while President Saakashvili said that violence couldn’t be a part of Georgian society and that the government needed to take responsibility.
“The time for well-placed rhetoric has now come to an end.
“ILGA-Europe welcomes the judgement from Strasbourg and calls on the Georgian authorities to fulfil their obligation to ensure freedom of assembly for the Georgian citizens, particularly in relation to IDAHOT public events this year.”
LGBT people still face widespread violence in Georgia..