Public Defender Echoes Insulting Remarks about Persons with Autism

The Public Defender of Georgia echoes the statements of political analyst Gia Khukhashvili and Medea Vasadze, the Deputy of the Supreme Council of the Autonomous Republic of Adjara, about Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze.

According to Medea Vasadze, Irakli Kobakhidze is "a man who lives in a political autism, which is a totally different world." The Deputy noted that she had heard this remark from one of the politicians and she would repeat it many times as she shared his view.

As for Gia Khukhashvili, he stated: "Irakli Kobakhidze’s statements are worrying. He left quite a grave impression. He looks like a man suffering from political autism, which lives in his own world, does not have a dialogue with anyone and has his own imaginations. I have the impression that he is a person with so serious communication problems that it is even hard to criticize him."

The Public Defender believes that the stereotypical attitudes of politicians and public officials undermine the efforts aimed at integrating the persons with autism spectrum disorders with the society. The use of the term "autism" in a discriminatory context is unacceptable, as it deepens the strongly rooted social stigma, stereotypes, negative and wrong attitudes towards the persons with disabilities, causes the alienation of the society towards these persons and creates a risk that they will be subjected to discrimination in the future. In addition, the stereotypical views of the society inflict serious emotional trauma to persons with disabilities and their families.

The Public Defender noted in his general proposal to the Parliament that politicians and public figures have a special obligation not to make wrong and stereotyped statements and not to use hate speech during public political debates.

Based on the above, the Public Defender calls on Medea Vasadze and Gia Khukhashvili, as well as other public figures, to take into account the sensitivity of the issues related to persons with disabilities and to refrain from making statements that can humiliate and degrade the vulnerable groups.

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