“Continued impunity for human rights abuses committed by law enforcement officials emphasized the need for an independent investigation mechanism,” according to an annual report by the Amnesty International, London-based international human rights organization.
The Amnesty International Report 2017/18, a country-by-country report on the state of human rights in 159 countries and territories, covers developments of 2017.
The report section on Georgia raises several concerns, including on the Rustavi 2 TV dispute, the alleged abduction of Azerbaijani journalist Afgan Mukhtarli, failure to investigate abuses committed by law enforcement officers, freedom of movement across the occupation line, etc.
The Amnesty report highlights the case of Afgan Mukhtarli, stating that the Azerbaijani investigative journalist “was abducted in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, on 29 May, and reappeared in the custody of Azerbaijani border police the following day.”
The document also notes that Mukhtarli was “falsely accused of illegal border crossing and money smuggling” by the authorities of Azerbaijan, and that “he told his lawyer that he had been abducted by Georgian-speaking men, some wearing Georgian criminal police uniforms, and trafficked across the border.”
The report concludes on the Mukhtarli case by saying that the Georgian official investigation regarding the journalist’s allegation “was not known to have produced substantial results.”
The Amnesty report also refers to the legal dispute over the pro-opposition Rustavi 2 TV channel, saying it “caused concern about judicial independence and media freedom.”
The document speaks of “continued impunity for human rights abuses committed by law enforcement officials,” saying that such impunity “persisted, while the government continued to promise, but failed to deliver, an independent investigation mechanism.”
The report lists restriction by Georgia’s new Constitution of the definition of marriage “to exclude same-sex couples” as an example of LGBTI discrimination, also saying that “same-sex couples were not legally recognized” in the process.
The Amnesty International refers to the situation in the Russian-occupied territories as well, saying that “Russian forces and de facto authorities” in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia “continued to restrict movement across the de facto border, briefly detaining and fining dozens of people for “illegal” border crossing.”
Here, the report states that “the increased fencing along the administrative boundary lines continued to adversely affect the rights of local residents, including the rights to work, food and an adequate standard of living, owing the loss of access to their orchards, pasture and farm land.”