Decisive action needed to protect LGBTQI+ rights in Georgia
This joint statement is being issued by the United Nations system in Georgia, the Delegation of the European Union to Georgia, the Embassies to Georgia of Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Romania, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United States, the Head of the EU Monitoring Mission in Georgia and the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) Regional Representation for the South Caucasus.
Today, on the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT), we mean to reiterate our solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex (LGBTQI+) community. These individuals remain among the least protected and most marginalized groups in Georgia. They still face discrimination and violence, cases of which often are underreported, and the protection and realization of their rights remains a challenge.
Regrettably, as in previous years, considerations of safety and security prevent many people from openly showing their solidarity with the LGBTQI+ community and raising their voices against homophobia, biphobia and transphobia in Georgia.
We wish to stress that the Government of Georgia is responsible for safeguarding the right to peaceful assembly, preventing discrimination and violence, and ensuring that everyone in Georgia can openly and publicly commemorate IDAHOBIT, in full confidence that their rights and safety will be duly protected.
We take note that several individuals were sentenced to prison terms for their involvement in the shameful events of 5 July 2021, those which led to the disruption of the March for Dignity and resulted in violence against LGBTQI+ persons and the media. We again urge the authorities to bring all instigators and perpetrators of violence to justice.
We equally welcome that a growing number of Georgian citizens support diversity and believe that the protection of human rights in LGBTQI+ communities is crucial. A recent survey points towards a continuing increase in the number of Georgians who consider it unacceptable to restrict the right to assembly and expression for LGBTQI+ communities, and believe that the state does not respond adequately to acts of violence and discrimination against LGBTQI+ persons.
State policy and practices must align with Georgian international commitments and respond accordingly to these social changes by ensuring that LGBTQI+ rights are effectively protected; including through the forthcoming National Human Rights Strategy and Action Plan. Enhanced social protection measures are still required to support vulnerable LGBTQI+ persons who struggle with food or housing security, face an elevated risk of homelessness or additional barriers in accessing healthcare.
We urge Georgian state, political, civic and religious leaders to spare no effort in fighting discrimination, stigma and violence within their respective areas of responsibility – including by embracing a respectful and compassionate public discourse, while engaging in constructive dialogue with LGBTQI+ communities in order to seek solutions to the most pressing challenges.
We stand united behind the right for all people to live free and equal, in safety and dignity, and we remain committed to supporting the people of Georgia in building an inclusive society that empowers and protects all its members.
 Women’s Initiatives Support Group (WISG)/SIDA/UNW/UNDP/UNFPA. (2022). From Prejudice to Equality: Study on Public Knowledge, Awareness and Attitudes towards LGBT(Q)I Community and Legal Equality. Retrieved from: https://bit.ly/3yDd9XG