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Public Defender Addresses Parliament to Regulate MPs’ Offensive Speeches

On February 6, 2017, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the Parliament of Georgia with a general proposal concerning the use of hate speech by MPs and use of other offensive words towards vulnerable groups.

The Public Defender indicates in the general proposal that on February 3, 2016, MP Gogi Topadze mentioned individuals with Down syndrome in an offensive context at the parliamentary session, while MP Tamaz Mechiauri described people with this syndrome as "sick". The proposal also reflects the variety of insulting statements made by various MPs towards vulnerable groups.

The Public Defender notes that the expressions mentioned in the proposal, in most cases, belong to the members of the 8th Parliament, however, given the sensitivity of the issue and the goal to prevent similar statements in the future, the Public Defender addressed the Parliament with the following general proposal:

  • To consider the possibility of providing the definition of the “performance of duties” by an MP, envisaged in paragraph 4 of Article 52 of the Constitution of Georgia, at the legislative level;
  • In case of the definition of the “performance of duties”, to consider creation of a mechanism of holding MPs responsible for their offensive statements and use of hate speech outside the “performance of duties”.
  • Creation of a mechanism of holding MPs responsible and the forms of its implementation to be in compliance with the models provided in the relevant report of the Venice Commission (determination by a court or parliament of whether MPs’ statements are within their indemnitetis).
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