Public Defender of Georgia addressed Emzar Kvitsiani with a General Proposal due Discriminatory Expression
On August 16, 2019, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed MP Emzar Kvitsiani not to encourage discrimination against any vulnerable group and to comply with the standards set by the Code of Ethics of the Member of the Parliament of February 22, 2019.
General Proposal is based on the application of Mirgat Asadov, Chairman of High Commission of Muslim of Georgia, which cites that Emzar Kvitsiani applied discriminatory expression against him on the meeting of the working group on issues of religious freedom established under the Human Rights and Civic Integration Committee of the Parliament of Georgia. Applicant was represented by the Georgian Young Lawyers Association at the Office of the Public Defender of Georgia.
Public Defender found that during the meeting, Mirgat Asadov addressed the audience in Azerbaijani language accompanied with a Georgian translation. Emzar Kvitsiani intervened during Mirtag Asadov’s speech and called upon him to speak in Georgian, if he was a citizen of Georgia.
While making a decision, Public Defender assessed content of the line encouraging discrimination, political-legal status of its author as well as context in which the statements were made.
After the analysis of factual circumstances of the case, Public Defender deemed that Emzar Kvitsiani’s statement – if he is Georgian, he shall talk in Georgian – was an indication that a member of an ethnic minority, with no knowledge of Georgian, is deprived of the right to express his opinion on processes ongoing in the parliament and to be involved in political life of the country. Public Defender considers, that such approaches facilitate exclusion of ethnic minorities from public sphere, which in turn contradicts the idea of their integration.
As the full integration of ethnic minorities in country's political and social life remains a challenge for Georgia, statements by politicians encouraging discrimination have a negative impact on the development of democratic processes and tolerant environment in the country. Therefore, it is of particular importance that public officials realize their responsibility not to discriminate minorities and to promote equal and inclusive environment for all.
In her General Proposal, Public Defender of Georgia expresses her hope that the Resolution of the Parliament of Georgia of February 22, 2019 “On Approving the Code of Ethics of the Member of the Parliament of Georgia” will be effectively applied in practice as a means to combat discrimination. Pursuant to Article 3 (“n”) of the Code of Ethics, a member of the Parliament of Georgia shall not be allowed to make a statement that is humiliating, rude, sexist, discriminatory, to act in such manner and to use hate speech otherwise.