THE LEGAL AND PRACTICAL CHALLENGES OF THE FREEDOM OF ASSEMBLY IN GEORGIA17 September, 2021
The freedom of assembly is the fundamental freedom guaranteed by the Constitution of Georgia, which represents one of the special forms of freedom of expression.
The freedom of assembly promotes the exchange of views and opinions, encourages pluralism, development and spread of different, critical thinking in the society. Peaceful assemblies are an integral part of sound political and societal processes and are considered to be an efficient mechanism for advocating important changes or raising awareness about various issues in different groups.
Although the freedom of assembly is enshrined in the Constitution of Georgia and relevant legislation, there are a number of challenges associated with efficient exercise of this freedom in practice. In the process of planning or organization of assembly, participants of assembly, including human rights activists and representatives of LGBTQI community face numerous obstacles. Furthermore, the safety and security of media representatives and human rights defenders in the process of media coverage of assembly is not ensured. In a situation where the state has to play the role of a facilitator and encourage relevant persons, including minorities, to enjoy the freedom of assembly, in practice, representatives of the state act as parties and use their resources disproportionately to restrict freedom of assembly.
Taking into account all the above-mentioned, the aim of the document is to assess the compliance of the national legislation and practice regulating the freedom of assembly with the international and regional standards. The findings of the report aim at promoting the proper implementation of the obligations/commitments undertaken by the state and ensuring the freedom of assembly in Georgia.
The report incorporates the review of the national legislative framework and practice on five thematic issues with respect to international and regional standards and associated recommendations in order to facilitate the proper implementation of the state’s positive commitments.
The report was prepared by “Rights Georgia” in the framework of the project – “Promoting the Protection of Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Manifestation in Georgia” with the financial support of Human Rights House Foundation and the European Union.