Homophobic and transphobic violence in Georgia on IDAHO
ILGA-Europe strongly condemns the homophobic and transphobic attacks against peaceful participants in the 17 May event commemorating the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) in Tbilisi, Georgia, and is deeply concerned by ongoing risks for the security and safety of LGBTI individuals in the country.
Evelyne Paradis, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said:
“We were deeply shocked by images of the huge crowd of counter-demonstrators who attacked a peaceful and officially sanctioned demonstration by LGBTI activists, and we are now worried about the safety of LGBTI activists in the aftermath of these events.
While we acknowledge the condemnation of this violence by the Prime Minister of Georgia, we call on the Georgian officials to fully investigate the violence and to prosecute the perpetrators of those violent protests as quickly as possible. The climate of impunity created by the lack of a swift and robust response only contributes to encouraging further violence targeting LGBTI human rights defenders and their allies. In addition, it is of the utmost importance that the Georgian authorities ensure the safety of LGBTI activists immediately.
ILGA-Europe is also extremely troubled by the role of the Georgian Orthodox Church in fuelling the violent counter-demonstration. The events of last Friday clearly demonstrates the extent of the influence of the Church in the country and the importance for the Church to act responsibly by condemning any use of violence.”
The violence which took over the streets in Tbilisi on the International Day against Homophobia in Tbilisi has shown that the measures taken by the Government were insufficient to ensure the safety of persons taking part in the LGBTI rally. The police was unprepared to cope with the large number of counter-demonstrators, a number of whom assaulted participants in the LGBTI rally.
The authorities, including the Prime Minister, have condemned the violence and expressed a commitment to punish the perpetrators. This is a positive first step. The authorities have a duty to intercept and respond to any further threats targeting members of the LGBTI-community, as well as to carry out a prompt investigation into the violent events and hold accountable those who incited and committed violent acts. Failure to do so would send a signal that violence and hate speech against LGBTI persons can continue to proceed with impunity.
The events have also shown that there is still a lot of work to be done in Georgia to eliminate discrimination against LGBTI persons. Political and opinion leaders in Georgia have a responsibility to contribute to this goal.
- Michael Aastrup Jensen (Denmark, ALDE) and Boriss Cilevics (Latvia, SOC), the co-rapporteurs for the monitoring of Georgia by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)
- EU delegation in Georgia: Local EU statement on the events connected with the Day against Homophobia
- Amnesty International : Georgia: Homophobic violence mars Tbilisi Pride event
- Government of Georgia:
Articles about the violence:
- APF: Church supporters disrupt Georgia gay rights rally
- Radio Free Europe: Antigay Protesters Disrupt Georgian Rights Rally
- The Guardian: Clashes disrupt anti-homophobia rally in Tbilisi
- New York Times: Crowd Led by Priests Attacks Gay Rights Marchers in Georgia [graphic footage of the attack on one of the buses]
- The Georgian Times:
- Georgian News:
- Religious servants and parish groups walk at LGBT demonstration
- How the Police worked during the demonstration in Tbilisi
- Church representatives and citizens break through police at the demonstration
- Group of demonstrators break through the police lines on Rustaveli Avenue
- Cameras capture aggressive behavior from some civil and religious participants of the protest [+ activists escaping onto the buses]
- Micro buses transporting LGBT supporters were assaulted with stones and fists
- Injured citizens, including a journalist, at LGBT supporting demonstration
- “We distance ourselves from violence, but this propaganda is unacceptable” – Patriarch of Georgia
- BBC reports: Thousands protest in Georgia over gay rights rally