CSOs: Garibashvili Remarks Aid Violent Homophobic Attitudes

A group of civil society organizations, united in a coalition No to Phobia, said today recent election campaign remarks by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili strengthen violent homophobic attitudes and leads to increasing social polarization in Georgia.

PM Garibashvili said yesterday that the planned LGBTQ pride march of July 5, cancelled amid homophobic violence and the lack of police protection, served as the United National Movement’s “gravest provocation” and “conspiracy against our people.” The UNM, former governing party, is the ruling Georgian Dream’s arch-rival.

The CSOs noted that while the Prime Minister yesterday condemned homophobic violence against journalists on July 5, he did not regret the government’s failure to protect freedom of expression and safety of LGBTQ citizens.

    They said the Prime Ministers statement, coming ahead of October 2 local elections, “contains populistic elements incompatible with western values,” and that it deploys homophobic attitudes as a political instrument ahead of October 2 local government elections.

    The organizations also underlined that PM Garibashvili’s claims that “every aggressor is detained and punished” is misleading, as none of the detainees have received their sentences so far, while part of perpetrators, including organizers of the violence remain at large.

    A total of 10 CSOs signed the statement, including Tbilisi Pride, Rights Georgia, Georgian Democracy Initiative, Media Development Foundation, GRASS, and ISFED.

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