Human Rights Defenders Day 2023

International Human Rights Defenders Day is celebrated on December 9. The Public Defender of Georgia emphasizes the importance of this day and traditionally joins its celebration.

The role of human rights defenders in the process of democratic development of the country is special. They play an important role in establishing high standards for protecting human rights in the country, improving the rule of law, equality and government accountability. Nevertheless, unfortunately, discrediting statements made by political officials towards the non-governmental sector are frequent in Georgia.[1] The Public Defender, like previous years, once again points out that officials, while exercising their powers, must strictly adhere to the internationally recognized standards of human rights defenders, refrain from engaging in the campaigns discrediting human rights defenders, and moreover, support their activities.

This year, the initiation of the so-called draft laws on foreign agents was particularly alarming. The Public Defender’s Office responded to the mentioned issue[2] and noted that the proposed draft laws did not comply with the international or domestic human rights standards and were incompatible with the basic principles of a modern democratic state. The draft laws were sharply negatively assessed by the legal opinion of the OSCE/ODIHR[3] institutions and the country's international partners.

The unfortunate and growing trend of arresting human rights defenders during peaceful assemblies is worrying.[4] The arrests of human rights defenders on June 2-3 in Tbilisi, near the Parliament of Georgia, should be especially underlined. In relation to the mentioned cases, the Public Defender submitted the opinion of the friend of the court, in which he pointed out that criticism of the authorities could not be a sufficient basis for interfering with the right.

In 2023, the challenges relating to the rights situation of the LGBT+ community remained relevant. From this point of view, it is especially important for the State to create a safe and supportive environment for them, in which the human rights defenders of the LGBT+ community will be able to enjoy protection and will have the opportunity to act without obstacles.

Like previous years, the Public Defender’s Office continued to actively cooperate with international and local human rights organizations to support the activities of human rights defenders. In addition, this year the Public Defender submitted written opinions on the situation of human rights defenders to the UN Special Rapporteur. The document reviews the main challenges faced by human rights defenders and important gaps in the legislation and policy documents related to the activities of human rights defenders. In addition, the Public Defender, as the only European national human rights institution, was involved in the process of filling out the questionnaire developed by the Danish Institute for Human Rights.

The Public Defender will continue to study the challenges faced by human rights defenders and will present the relevant findings in parliamentary and special reports.

[1] See:,, [06.12.2023]

[2] Information is available on the website:, [06.12.2023]

[3] Information is available on the website:, [06.12.2023]

[4] For example, the arrests of human rights defenders at the rallies held in Tbilisi and Batumi on March 7-8, June 2-3, 2023, at the Port of Batumi on July 31.

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