Amnesty International has called on the Georgian authorities to ensure that the country’s first anti-discrimination bill becomes “an effective tool to combat discrimination.”
The bill, proposed by the government, was passed with its first reading by the Georgian Parliament on April 17.
But many local rights groups say that the government-proposed bill was a significantly watered down version of an original document, which was drafted by the Ministry of Justice in close cooperation with the civil society groups and different minorities. Rights groups, as well as the Georgian Public Defender, complain that the proposed draft no longer envisages efficient implementation mechanisms, as well as financial penalties for those responsible for cases of discrimination.
“The Georgian government decided to amend the draft shortly before it was officially introduced to the Parliament. The changes substantively altered the bill, significantly reducing its ability to effectively enforce anti-discrimination law,” Amnesty International said in a statement on April 24.
“The Georgian government should take into consideration the concerns of civil society and offer a bill that would not only outlaw discrimination on paper, but would also enforce prohibition of all forms of discrimination in practice,” it said.
“It is important that the new anti-discrimination law is effective, since discrimination has been a significant problem in Georgia. During the last two years there have been cases of attacks on and discrimination against members of religious minorities and… LGBTI community in the country,” Amnesty International said.