In collaboration with ILGA-Europe, Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group (WISG) prepared and submitted a shadow report on situation of LGBT persons in Georgia, for the 23rd Session of Universal Periodical Review. The report was based on the new studies and reports prepared by WISG, as well as other materials documenting the situation of LGBT persons in our country.
The abovementioned joint submission by WISG and ILGA-Europe was the only shadow report from Georgia, with specific focus on LGBT issues. Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group also took part in coalition submissions together with Union Sapari and Georgia’s Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA). The report can be found on the following link: WISG Shadow Report for 23rd Session of UPR.
In October, 2015, Natia Gvianishvili, director of WISG travelled to Geneva, to attend the UPR pre –session. The trip was financially supported by CoC Netherlands. With help from ILGA-World, Natia Gvianishvili was able to lobby the recommendations included in the submission with different permanent missions in the United Nations. Permanent missions that recommended Georgia to improve the situation of LGBT persons, were among them (Kingdom of Netherlands, Sweden, Uruguay, France, Argentina, Brasil, Belgium Canada).
The recommendations received by Georgia during the UPR session on November 10, 2015, regarding sexual orientation and gender identity, are as follows:
Introduction of the National Report of Georgia:
“There have been significant positive developments regarding Georgia’s compliance with human rights instruments since the first review. Several reforms were initiated, laws were enacted, and several national action plans were adopted. In the course of my presentation, I will go through Georgia’s major achievements since the first UPR...... Georgia’s adoption of a comprehensive anti-discrimination law in 2014 was one of the country’s most recent and important legislative developments. It is the first legislative mechanism in Georgia, which explicitly prohibits all forms of discrimination including on the basis of gender identity in both the public and private sectors, and imposes responsibilities not only upon public institutions, but alsoupon any legal entity or individual. The law was drafted in close collaboration with local and international NGOs and experts and the office of the public defender was tasked with monitoring its implementation. In order to strengthen systems for the protection of human rights within the country, both the Georgian President and Prime Minister have appointed advisors on human rights issues within the foreign ministry.” (Ms. Khatuna Totladze, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Georgia)
France recommends that Georgia take all necessary measures to effectively combat discrimination including that against religious minorities and LGBTI individuals.
Netherlands- Regarding the implementation of its anti-discrimination legislation, the Netherlandsrecommends that Georgia include effective measures that strengthen religious tolerance, gender equality, equal rights for ethnic minorities, women, and LGBTI persons as to increase tolerance and social inclusion in Georgian society.
*Japan commends Georgia on the active measures it is taking to improve its human rights situation including protection of political and civil rights and the protection of the cultures of ethnic minorities. From the point of view of sexual orientation and gender identity, we also commend Georgia for its adoption of the law on the elimination of all forms of discrimination in May of 2014.
*Norway- The Georgian parliament adopted a progressive anti-discrimination law in 2014. This is an important step towards safeguarding the rights of the country’s minorities be that ethnic, sexual, or religious. However, attitudes in Georgian society towards minority groups is an issue that requires continuous attention.
Swedenrecommends that Georgia establish a specialized police unit for investigating hate crimes closely collaborating with the LGBT community organizations in order to create a trusting relationship.
Uruguaycommends the adoption of the general law to combat discrimination, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender identity. We recommend increased efforts in order to guarantee the rights of LGBTI persons and recommend that the committee combat all forms of social stigmatization of homosexuality, bisexuality, and transexuality and hate speech and discrimination and violence motivated by sexual orientation and gender identity.
Argentina is concerned about acts of physical violence and harassment of sexual minorities, for which reason, we recommend to the country to combat this form of social stigmatization, hate speech, discrimination, and violence motivated by sexual orientation or gender identity.
Belgium welcomes the adoption of a law and plan of action for gender equality as well as a general law against discrimination. We recommend that the appropriate services be provided with the necessary resources, in particular, in order to train and raise the awareness of the judiciary and the public in order to ensure that these new measures adopted to fight racial, gender, or sexual identity discrimination be effective.
Brazil recommends that Georgia support public education campaigns to combat hate speech, discrimination and violence related to sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as social stigmatization of LGBT persons… While welcoming the adoption of the anti-discrimination law last year, we believe that public education campaigns as well as training of police officers, prosecutors, and judges on SOGIE issues may contribute to the implementation of the law.
Canada recommends that Georgia improve implementation and enforcement of the law on the elimination of all forms of discrimination, particularly in its application towards the protection of individuals belonging to sexual and religious minority groups.
*Costa Rica notes that particular attention should be paid to the shortcomings in guarantees of due legal process and unequal allocation of public resources to political parties; as well as alleged restrictions on the exercise of journalism, discrimination and marginalization of ethnic and religious minorities and LGBTI groups, and high rates of domestic violence.