Defamation and intimidation against Mr. Ucha Nanuashvili, HRIDC Executive Director- GEO 001 / 1005 / OBS 088

05/10/2005
Urgent Appeal

The Observatory has been informed by the Human Rights Information and Documentation Center (HRIDC) about acts of defamation and intimidation against Mr. Ucha Nanuashvili, HRIDC Executive Director.

The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Georgia.

Brief description of the situation:

According to the information received, on September 27, 2005, Mr. Ucha Nanuashvili had a telephone conversation with Mr. Kvaratskhelia Zaur, Head of the Department for Relations with Georgian Diasporas and Inter-Ethnic Relations at the Georgian President’s Office. Mr. Kvaratskhelia Zaur shouted and hurled insults at him and called him an “informer” and “betrayer”. According to Mr. Kvaratskhelia Zaur, HRIDC would be spreading false information about ethnic minorities in Georgia and would represent the interests of foreign forces.

The Observatory recalls that in November 2004, HRIDC had already received several threats from high rank officials. Indeed, Mr. Nicanadinadze, Head of the legal department of the State Chancellery and advisor to the Prime Minister, gave a phone call to HRIDC, in order to ask the centre to cease its activities concerning the right of refugees. He indicated that the Centre might “have problems” if it refused to comply. Mr. Nicanadinadze also accused HRIDC of belonging to a political organisation and causing trouble for the Government (See Annual Report 2004 of the Observatory).

HRIDC was founded in 1996 and its main activities include, among others, monitoring the human rights situation in Georgia, fighting against torture and discrimination, monitoring minority rights in Georgia, as well as migration, trafficking in human beings and violence against women.

The Observatory believes that these defamation and intimidation acts are part of a more general context of hostility against independent human rights defenders in Georgia and expresses its deep concern about these acts, recalling that they constitute flagrant violations of article 12.2 of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1998, which states that “The State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.

Action requested:

Please write to the Georgian authorities and ask them to:

i. Guarantee, in all circumstances, the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Ucha Nanuashvili, all HRIDC members, as well as all human rights defenders in the country as a whole;

ii. Put an end to all forms of harassment and defamation against human rights defenders;

iii. Conform with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, in particular articles 1, which states that "Everyone has the right, individually and in association with others, to promote and to strive for the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels" and above-mentioned article 12.2;

iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Georgia.

Addresses:

- Mr. Mikhail Saakashvili, President, State Chancellery, 7 Ingorokhva Street. 380034 Tbilisi, Georgia; Tel: + 995 32 99 96 53, Fax: (+ 995 32) 99 92 00, E-mail: pr@president.gov.ge

- Mr. Gela Bezhuashvili, Secretary, National Security Council of Georgia, 7 Ingorokhva Street. 380034 Tbilisi, Georgia, Tel: +995 32 93 23 22 ; Fax: +995 32 98 99 72 ; E-mail: snsc@gol.ge

- Human Rights Service of the National Security Council: Tel: + 995 32 93-13-22 ; Fax: + 995 32 92-35-58

- Mr. Ivane Merabishvili, Minister of Interior, Ministry of Interior of Georgia, Tel: +995 32 99 62 96 / 99 80 50 / + 995 32 99 95 55; Fax: +995 32 98 71 46 / 99 95 24; E-mail: presscenter@pol.ge

- Ms. Elene Tevdoradze; Head of the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights Petitions and Relations with the Civil Society, Parliament of Georgia, 8 Rustaveli Avenue. 380018 Tbilisi, Georgia; Tel: +995 32 99 69 51; Fax: +995 32 92 15 63 / 92 33 50;

- Ms. Kostantin Kemularia, Minister of Justice, 19, Griboedov st, Tbilisi, 380008, Georgia, Tel: +995 32 93 27 21 / 93 50 49 / 75-82-22; Fax: +995 32 93 02 25 / 75-82-22 ; Email: justice@justice.gov.ge

- Mr Zurab Adeishvili, General Prosecutor of Georgia, 24 Gorgasali st, 380014, Tbilisi, Georgia; Tel: +995 32 98 21 54 / 93 23 44 / 93 68 45 / 99 06 68; Fax: +995 32 98 21 70

- Mr Sozar Subari, Ombudsman of Georgia, 11, Machabeli street, Tbilisi 0107, Georgia, Phone: + 995 32 92 39 60 / 92 24 78 / 92 24 81 / 93 15 85; Fax: + 995 32 92 24 70; Email: info@ombudsman.ge

Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Georgia in your respective countries.

***

Geneva - Paris, October 5, 2005

Kindly inform the Observatory of any action undertaken quoting the code number of this appeal in your reply.

The Observatory, an FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.

The Observatory was the winner of the 1998 Human Rights Prize of the French Republic.

To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:

Tel and fax: FIDH : +33 (0) 1 43 55 20 11 / 33 (0) 1 43 55 18 80

Tel and fax OMCT : + 41 (0) 22 809 49 39 / + 41 (0) 22 809 49 29
Email : observatoire@iprolink.ch

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