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Coalition for Equality against head of Parliament’s Human Rights Committee head

Monday, February 18
Coalition for Equality” calls upon the chairperson of Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of the Parliament of Georgia to act in accordance with the requirements of the Code of Ethics established for the Member of the Parliament and to stop ungrounded attacks on human rights organizations or individual activists.

The last similar case took place on February 4, 2019, at the meeting held to discuss the draft law “Code on the rights of the Child”, initiated by Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of the Parliament of Georgia. During the meeting, Sopio Kiladze addressed Ana Abashidze, representative of “Partnership for Human Rights” (PHR), member organization of “Coalition for Equality” with the following phrases: “I heard, that you and Ana Arganashvili were directly ordered to play a destructive role regarding this child’s code, to appear in media, to scream that the country is collapsing…” “It will be good if you and Ana Arganashvili stop personal insult of parliamentarians on Facebook…” Also, Sopio Kiladze did not allow Ana Abashidze to respond to the stated accusation-“Biased, I do not take anything from commissioned person. You are biased person and I will not take anything from you and I will not listen to you”.

It should be noted, that during numerous working group meetings and at the committee sessions Sopio Kiladze uses expressions that are inappropriate for human rights and by her actions, she shows the obvious non-acceptance of different opinions or criticism. [1]

“Coalition for Equality” reminds Sopio Kiladze that, during public positioning, status of the chairperson of Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of the Parliament of Georgia obliges her to show respect for human rights and to promote engagement of representatives of civil society in legislative processes. Part of engaging in the legislative process is to enable persons, who are interested in the issue, to state an opinion. Critical and different opinions cannot be basis for ungrounded accusations and restricting freedom of expression towards a human right organization or individual activist. Moreover, public officials have an obligation to endure criticism and this is the fundamental principle and requirement of a democratic society.

Democratic participation of public groups in legislative process requires creation of well-organized, participatory, fair and ethical discussion platforms from the heads of the Parliament, which stands for the idea of stable protection of human rights and respect for different opinion. Unfortunately, the chairperson of Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee is not able to create such a platform; moreover she herself becomes author of unethical statements, authoritarian approaches and statements missing human rights views, which is essentially incompatible with her high and publicly important status. That is why, “Coalition for Equality” raises question of political responsibility of her and calls upon the ruling political team for timely respond. In other case we may consider that the ruling team essentially shares the spirit of her statements and approaches, and thus also carries political burden because of Sopio Kiladze’s Statements. It should be noted, that public groups have also raised question of political responsibility of chairperson of Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee due to her inappropriate statements and visions with human rights ideas, however, the Georgian Dream did not respond to this statement.

Unfortunately, the Parliament still does not have a mechanism, which would enable the public groups to require effective response to such unethical incidents.

“Coalition for Equality” is an informal alliance established in 2014 with the support of “Open Society -Georgia” Foundation and it unites nine nongovernmental organisations. Members of the Coalition are: “Open Society -Georgia” Foundation, “Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC)”, “Article 42 of the Constitution”, Union “Sapari”, “Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association”, “Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group (WISG)”, “Partnership for Human Rights (PHP)”, “Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI)” and “Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI)”.