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Georgia
14.10.16
Urgent Interventions

Assault of three international election observers from a joint mission of NHC, IPHR and EPDE

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URGENT APPEAL - THEOBSERVATORY

GEO 001 / 1110 / OBS 087

Acts of violence /

Physical assault

Georgia

October 14, 2016

The Observatory for theProtection of Human Rights Defenders, a partnership of the World OrganisationAgainst Torture (OMCT) and FIDH, requests your urgentintervention in the following situation in Georgia.

Description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the assaultof three international election observers[1]from a joint mission of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee (NHC), InternationalPartnership for Human Rights (IPHR) and the European Platform for DemocraticElections (EPDE).

According to the information received, on October 8, 2016, just beforemidnight, a group of unidentified men broke into the polling station 79 in theVillage of Jikhashkari, in Zugdidi district (West Georgia). They disrupted thecounting procedure, broke the ballot box, damaged election items and physicallyattacked the observers. They took the phone of two of the observers, while thethird observer, a woman, was tripped and hit with an elbow.

The police was present during the scene and did not intervene. Theobservers subsequently filed a complaint at the Zugdidi Central Police Stationon the same evening. As of issuing that Urgent Appeal, two suspects had beenapprehended.

The joint international election observation mission was established onSeptember 12, 2016, in Georgia, and on the day of the first round of theparliamentary elections, 36 accredited observers were deployed in the countryto visit more than 200 polling stations.

The Observatory strongly condemns the assault against theabove-mentioned human rights defenders, and would like to remind Georgia'sobligation to protect international observers in all circumstances under boththe national Election Code and the OSCE Copenhagen Document.

The Observatory nonetheless welcomes the investigation conducted by theGeorgian police and the inquiry opened by the General Inspectorate regardingpolice’s behaviour, and hopes that the investigations will be carried outimpartially and transparently, in order to identify all those responsible,bring them before an independent tribunal, and sanction them as provided by thelaw.

Action requested:

Please writeto the authorities in Georgia urging them to:

i. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychologicalintegrity of the above-mentioned international election observers;

ii. Ensure that they are not subject to any acts of harassment, so thatthey are able to carry out their work without hindrances in Georgia;

iii. Undertake a thorough, impartial and transparent criminalinvestigation into the assault perpetrated against them, in order to identifyall those responsible, bring them before a competent and impartial tribunal andapply to them the sanctions provided by the law;

iv. Comply with the provisions of the UN Declaration on Human RightsDefenders, adopted by the General Assembly on December 9, 1998, in particular:

- Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually andin association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection andrealization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national andinternational levels”

- Article 5 and 6 (c), which stipulate that “for the purpose ofpromoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, everyone hasthe right, individually or in association with others, [...] to meet orassemble peacefully” and “to study, discuss, form and hold opinions on theobservance, both in law and in practice, of all human rights and fundamentalfreedoms and, through these matters and other appropriate means, to draw publicattention to those matters”;

- Article 12.1, which provides that “the State shall take all necessarymeasures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone,individually or in association with others, against any violence, threats,retaliation, de facto orde jure adversediscrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his orher legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the [...] Declaration”;

v. More generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for humanrights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international and regionalhuman rights standards and human rights instruments ratified by Georgia.

Addresses:

  • Mr. Giorgi Margvelashvili, President, State Chancellery, 7 Ingorokhva Street, 0134 Tbilisi, Georgia; Tel : (995 32) 28-27-13; (995 32) 28-24-00; (995 32)99 96 53; ( 995 32) 98-72-62, ( 995 32) / 99-87-50, Fax: ( 995 32) 98-72-62 (99532) 28-27-68; (99532)28-27-14; E-mail: pr@president.gov.ge, vano@president.gov.ge
  • Ms. Irine Imerlishvili , Secretary of the National Security Council of Georgia, 7, Ingorokhva Street. 0134 Tbilisi, Georgia, Tel: (+995 32) 2 282547 ; Fax: (995 32) 2 98 99 72 ; E-mail: office@nsc.gov.ge
  • Mr. Guiorgui MGHEBRISHVILI, Minister of Interior, Ministry of Interior of Georgia, 10, Gulua street, Tbilisi, Georgia. Tel: (+995 32) 274 62 50/ (+995 32) 2 41 21 47; Fax:(995 32) 2 98 71 46 / 99 95 24; E-mail: press_center@pol.ge
  • Ms. Eka Beselia, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Civil Integration, Parliament of Georgia, 8 Rustaveli Avenue. 380018 Tbilisi, Georgia; Tel: (995 32) 2 28 13 88; Fax: (995 32) 2 92 15 63. Email: Humanrights@parliament.ge
  • Ms. Théa TSULUKIANI, Minister of Justice, 19, Griboedov st, Tbilisi, 0108, Georgia, Tel: (995 32) 2 93 27 21 / 93 50 49 / 75-82-22; Fax: (995 32) 2 93 02 25 / 75-82-22 ; Email: justice@justice.gov.ge
  • Mr. Ucha Nanuashvili , Ombudsman of Georgia, N6 Nino Ramishvili Street, Tbilisi 0179 Georgia, Phone: (995 32) 2 23 44 99 / 2 91 38 14 / 2 91 38 15 / 2 91 38 41 / 2 91 38 42 / 2 91 38 43 / 2 91 38 75 / 2 91 38 76 / 2 91 38 77; Fax: (995 32) 2 91 38 41; Email: info@ombudsman.ge
  • H.E Mr. Shalva Tsiskarashvili, Ambassador, Permanent mission of Georgia to the United Nations in Geneva, Rue Richard Wagner 1, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Tel: +41 22 919 10 10; Fax: + 41 22 733 90 33 ; Email: geomission.geneva@bluewin.ch
  • H.E Ms. Natalie Sabanadze, Ambassador, Diplomatic Mission of Georgia to Brussels, Rue Père Eudore Devroye 245, 1150 Woluwe Saint Pierre, Belgium, Tel: +32 2 761 11 90; Fax: + 32 2 732 85 47; Email: geomission.eu@mfa.gov.ge

Please also writeto the diplomatic mission or embassy of Georgia in your respective country aswell as to the EU diplomatic missions or embassies in Georgia.

***

Geneva-Paris,October 14, 2016

Kindly inform usof any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory for the Protectionof Human Rights Defenders (the Observatory) was created in 1997 by the WorldOrganisation Against Torture (OMCT) and FIDH. The objective of this programmeis to intervene to prevent or remedy situations of repression against humanrights defenders. FIDH and OMCT are both members of ProtectDefenders.eu, the European Union Human RightsDefenders Mechanism implemented by international civil society.

Tocontact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

  • E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
  • Tel and Fax OMCT + 41 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
  • Tel and Fax FIDH + 33 1 43 55 25 18 / + 33 1 43 55 18 80

[1] The Observatory does not disclose the name of thethree observers, as they are still fulfilling their mission in Georgia.

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