We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations, express our concern about homophobic assessments which David Darakhvelidze, the Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia, made in his interview to Versia newspaper on 9 May.
The Minister's reference to LGBT persons as "diseased people" and people with "sexual deviations" incites hatred towards LGBT community; moreover it conflicts with approaches towards such persons which are universally recognized in medicine and law and which rest on the acknowledgement of a human being as the highest value and the universal principle of the protection of human rights. Rhetoric of this kind from a high public official is unacceptable as it strengthens and legalizes the intolerance among society, something which manifested in such a large-scale violence as seen on 17 May 2013. By diminishing the efforts of civil society to protect LGBT rights, the Minister reveals his misunderstanding of the importance of civil society and ignorance of the grave situation in the protection of the rights of LGBT people.
One should also take into account that this is not the first instance of Davit Darakhvelidze publicly discriminating people on various grounds. Because of racists statements he made during the election campaign in the run up to 2012 parliamentary elections, the civil sector addressed the candidate for the position of Prime minister to revise his decision about appointing Darakhvelidze as the Minister of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia.
We address the current Prime Minister of Georgia to adequately react to the Minister's above mentioned statement as it conflicts with the anti-discrimination policy declared by the government and the concept of protection of fundamental human rights and freedoms. Given this incident, it is also very important for the government to draw up a long term vision and to undertake corresponding measures to prevent its members from making statements which are motivated by hate.
Media Development Fund, MDF
Georgian Democracy Initiative, GDI
Tolerance and Diversity Institute, TDI
Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center, EMC
Georgia's Reforms Associates, GRASS
Article 42 of the Constitution
European Centre for Minority Issues, ECMI
Georgian Young Lawyers' Association, GYLA
Transparency International Georgia, TI
Women's Initiative Support Group, WISG
Association LGBT Georgia
Georgian Institute for Strategic Studies, GISS
Georgian Institute of European Values, GIEV
Media Club "Frontline Georgia"
Caucasus Environmental NGO Network, CENN