MEPs to Commission: call on Georgia to protect Tbilisi Pride

Georgia is about to host its first-ever Pride March, under threat of attacks by far right LGBTIphobic groups and the Orthodox Church. However Georgian authorities refuse to provide adequate protect to Tbilissi Pride March, due to take place on Saturday 22 June. Members of the LGBTI Intergroup write to Commissioners Federica Mogherini, Frans Timmermans and Vera Jourova, asking them to call on Georgian authorities to protect the right to expression and peaceful demonstration of the LGBTI community in Georgia. TO: Federica Mogherini, Vice-President of the European Commission & High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Better Regulation, Inter-institutional Relations, the Rule of Law and the Charter of Fundamental Rights; Věra Jourová, Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. Concerns: call on Georgian authorities to protect Tbilisi Pride Brussels, 18 June 2019 Dear Mrs Mogherini, Mr Timmermans, Mrs Jourova,

On June 22nd the first ever Pride March is scheduled to take place in Tbilisi. We welcome and support the initiative of this march for fundamental rights. However, we are very worried to learn that the authorities are refusing to take measures to ensure that the march can take place under acceptable conditions. The authorities have refused to authorize an itinerary for the march in town, instead they will only authorize a location 35 kilometres outside of Tbilisi.

Far right LGBTIphobic groups and the Orthodox Church have announced they will do everything to disrupt the march, so it is crystal clear that the authorities need to provide protection for the Pride march, in line with their duties under international law. The authorities have an obligation to make sure peaceful demonstrations can take place in secure circumstances. This has been confirmed repeatedly by case law of the European Court for Human Rights. The threats of violence and disruption by LGBTIphobic hate groups cannot serve as a pretext to ban the march or move it out of town. We call on you to intervene urgently, and give a strong and unambiguous message to the Georgian authorities, that we expect them to fully and unreservedly protect human rights and make sure the march will get full protection. In line with the EU guidelines to promote and protect the enjoyment of all human rights by LGBTI persons, the European Union in its external policies has a duty to protect and promote LGBTI human rights, including the right to non-discrimination and to peaceful demonstration. We therefore urgently request your intervention with the Georgian authorities. With kind regards, Sophie in ’t Veld MEP, Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup Terry Reintke MEP, Co-President of the LGBTI Intergroup Tanja Fajon, MEP, Vice-President of the LGBTI Intergroup

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