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Georgia
23.06.06
Urgent Interventions

Georgia: Break-in of the office of PMMG / Harassment

GEO 003 / 0606 / OBS 080
Break-in / Robbery / Harassment
Georgia

June 23, 2006

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Georgia.

Brief description of the situation:

The Observatory has been informed by the Human Rights Information and Documentation Centre (HRIDC) that the office of the Public Movement « Multinational Georgia » (PMMG), a non-profit NGO that notably aims at promoting national minorities’ rights and developing their integration in the Georgian society, was broken into and robbed on June 7, 2006.

According to the information received, early in the morning on June 7, 2006, the door of the NGO’s office was broken by unknown individuals who stole the hard disks of the computers, which contained many of the working documents of the organisation. In particular, the draft of an alternative report on the implementation of the Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, to be addressed to the United Nations and the Council of Europe, was stolen, as well as documentation and analytical materials describing situation of minorities in Georgia, which also included analyse of authorities’ policy on this item. However, all valuable equipments were left in the office.

During the two weeks before this break-in, several staff members of PMMG had been contacted by some representatives of the State in order to get various documents, especially the draft of the report that had to be addressed to the Council of Europe and the United Nations. As the PMMG members refused to provide them with this information, State representatives contacted PMMG partner organisations in the same purpose, which they also refused. These organisations were then told by the official representatives that “[they] will get it anyway”.

Besides, in March 2006, the car of Mr. Arnold Stepanian, Head of the organisation, was robbed before the organisation’s office, as well as the one of the press secretary. The two cars also contained many working documents.

During the last two years, PMMG established close cooperation with various minorities organisations and political groups. PMMG initiated the « Minority Assembly » that will take place in September 2006, where minority problems and the increasing of minority participation in the political processes will be discussed. Due to PMMG’s involvement in this issue and its critical positions vis-à-vis the governmental policies on minorities, several governmental non-governmental organisations (GONGOs) tried to ostracise the organisation.

The Observatory expresses its deep concern regarding those acts, which seem to only aim at intimidating human rights defenders in Georgia, in particular those who try to promote and defend minorities’ rights in this country.

Actions requested:

Please write to the authorities in Georgia urging them to:
i. guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of the members of the Public Movement “Multinational Georgia”, and all other human rights defenders in Georgia;

ii. put an immediate end to any kind of harassment against the Public Movement “Multinational Georgia” and conduct a fair, impartial and independent inquiry into these events, in order to identify those responsible, bring them to justice and pronounce sentences proportional to the gravity of their crimes;

iii. comply with the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realisation of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”, article 5c, which provides the right “to communicate with non-governmental or intergovernmental organisations”, and article 12.2, which declares that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually or in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”;

iv. more generally, ensure in all circumstances the respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights instruments ratified by Georgia.

Addresses:

  • Mr. Mikhail Saakashvili, President, State Chancellery, 7 Ingorokhva Street, 380034 Tbilisi, Georgia; Tel : +995 32 99 96 53; Fax : +995 32 99 92 00; E-mail : pr@president.gov.ge

  • Mr. Konstantin Korkelia, Secretary, National Security Council of Georgia, 7 Ingorokhva Street. 380034 Tbilisi, Georgia, Tel: +995 32 93 23 22 ; Fax: +995 32 98 99 72 ; E-mail: snsc@gol.ge

  • Human Rights Service of the National Security Council: Tel: + 995 32 93-13-22 ; Fax: + 995 32 92-35-58

  • Mr. Ivane Merabishvili, Minister of Interior, Ministry of Interior of Georgia, Tel: +995 32 99 62 96 / 99 80 50 / 99 95 55; Fax: +995 32 98 71 46 / 99 95 24; E-mail: presscenter@pol.ge

  • Ms. Elene Tevdoradze; Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights Petitions and Relations with the Civil Society, Parliament of Georgia, 8 Rustaveli Avenue. 380018 Tbilisi, Georgia; Tel: +995 32 99 69 51; Fax: +995 32 92 15 63 / 92 33 50

  • Mr. Gia Kavtaradze, Minister of Justice, 19, Griboedov st, Tbilisi, 380008, Georgia, Tel: +995 32 93 27 21 / 93 50 49 / 75-82-22; Fax: +995 32 93 02 25 / 75-82-22 ; Email:justice@justice.gov.ge

  • Mr Zurab Adeishvili, General Prosecutor of Georgia, 24 Gorgasali st, 380014, Tbilisi, Georgia; Tel:+995 32 98 21 54 / 93 23 44 / 93 68 45 / 99 06 68; Fax: +995 32 98 21 70

  • Mr Sozar Subari, Ombudsman of Georgia, 11, Machabeli street, Tbilisi 0107, Georgia, Phone: + 995 32 92 39 60 / 92 24 78 / 92 24 81 / 93 15 85; Fax: + 995 32 92 24 70; Email: info@ombudsman.ge

  • Mr. Alexander Chikvaidze, Ambassador, Permanent mission of Georgia to the United Nations in Geneva, Rue Richard Wagner 1, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Fax: + 41 22 733 90 33 ; Email: geomission.geneva@bluewin.ch

  • Ambassador Mr. Salomé Samadaschvele, Diplomatic Mission of Georgia to Brussels, Belgium, Fax: + 32 2 732 85 47


Please also write to the diplomatic mission or embassy of Georgia in your respective country.

***
Paris - Geneva, June 23, 2006

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

The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need. The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
E-mail: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
Tel and fax FIDH + 33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / +33 1 43 55 18 80
Tel and fax OMCT + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 22 809 49 29
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