7 Years Pass since Enactment of Anti-Discrimination Law
Today, on May 7, 2021, 7 years have passed since the enactment of the Law of Georgia on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination. During this period, anti-discrimination legislation has been somewhat improved; In some cases, public agencies and private companies took into account the principle of equality when planning their internal regulations and policies; The rate of implementation of the recommendations issued by the Public Defender on equality issues has been increased. As a result of this progress, many women, persons with disabilities, members of religious and ethnic minorities, members of the LGBT+ community and other vulnerable groups have been able to restore their violated rights.
However, unfortunately the results achieved are fragmentary and are not based on the unified policy of the State. To date, the state priorities do not include the creation of equal social protection system, integration strategy for national minorities, policies tailored to the needs of persons with disabilities or women, fight against homo/transphobic, xenophobic or other far-right attitudes.
Unequal coronavirus-related regulations imposed on various vulnerable groups, including non-dominant religious associations, are an illustration of the above. The LGBT+ community and activists have been under violent attacks for years; lesbian women became victims of an assault just a few days ago. No steps have been taken to bring the state or municipal social or health care programmes into line with the principle of equality; There still are cases of harassment and sexual harassment in public service and private sector; labour rights are still violated, especially against representatives of the media. Public dissemination of sexist, homo/transphobic, xenophobic and other forms of discrimination, including by officials, remains a challenge. In addition, despite some improvements, there remain shortcomings in the investigation of alleged hate crimes, including in terms of the detection of hate motives.
It is difficult to achieve a tangible result without a unified approach of the competent state bodies. Due to the fact that the importance of equality is not properly realized at the institutional level, the Public Defender, along with focusing on individual circumstances, has to make one of the same recommendations on the elimination of systemic discrimination in each reporting period.
The Public Defender once again calls on the state agencies to develop a common vision and policy to protect the right to equality and to prevent discrimination, as well as to release public statements in support of equality.