Public Defender Calls on Tabula TV Company to Remove Sexist Promo from Internet
Public Defender of Georgia addressed the Tabula TV Company with a general proposal regarding a sexist promo video of the program Restaurant. The Public Defender considers that the video contributes to strengthening of gender stereotypes. A woman's naked body is used in the promo as an object for placing food – it is portrayed as a valueless item, which devalues the woman's personality. There is no logical connection between the program and the content of its promo, as the focus is made not on the food but on the woman's body used as an object.
The Public Defender notes that assessment of a woman according to her appearance, her biological characteristics, as well as her portrayal as an "object", represents sexism, which can lead to devastating consequences for women's human rights situation in Georgia. The woman has a decorative role in the mentioned sexist promo, and at the same time, she is sexualized by presenting her naked body.
Given that the respondent refused to remove the advertising, the Public Defender addressed the TV Company to delete the promo from the Internet and to observe the principle of equality in its future activities.
Public Defender’s visit to Zagreb
In Zagreb, Croatia the Public Defender of Georgia Ucha Nanuashvili and the Chief Specialist of International Human Rights Law Lara Jamarauli attended International Conference, organized on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Ombudsman's Act of Croatia, by the Ombudswoman Lora Vidović.
Almost 50 representatives of the human rights institutions and organizations from the entire Europe as well as numerous guests gathered at the Conference, titled „Reclaiming human rights in Europe: How to enhance the democratic space? “which offered a chance to discuss the most current issues in this field – counter-terrorism, freedom of expression and living together, as well as the role of human rights institutions and equality bodies in preserving democracy and the rule of law.
The conference speakers included the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks, director of the European Agency for Fundamental Rights Michael O'Flaherty, former OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatović, Chair of the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions and Director of the German Institute for Human Rights Beate Rudolf, President of the International Ombudsman Institute and Ombudsman of Ireland Peter Tyndall, Chair of the European Equality Bodies Network and Executive Director of the Northern Ireland Commission for Equality Evelyn Collins, as well as the UNDP and OHCHR representatives and many others.
In addition, On the 11th of May Public Defender attended the meeting of the European Coordinating Committee (ECC) of the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI). Members of the Committee discussed administrative, management and financial issues of the Network.
The Public Defender of Georgia has been a member of the European Coordinating Committee (ECC) ENNHRI’s governing body, for the second consecutive year. ECC comprises a group of NHRIs elected from amongst ENNHRI’s members and led by its Chair. The ECC, along with ENNHRI’S Permanent Secretariat, is responsible for ENNHRI’s management and administration.
Public Defender Meets with Ambassador of Great Britain
Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili and First Deputy Public Defender Natia Katsitadze met with Justin McKenzie Smith, Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to Georgia.
The Public Defender briefed the Ambassador of the activities of the Public Defender’s Office of Georgia, as well as the main recommendations and legislative initiatives on the improvement of human rights. Other topics of discussion were: the progress of the judicial reform, the necessity for the creation of an independent investigative mechanism, the implementation of the Law on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, the gender environment in the country, the human rights situation of people living in the conflict zones, the work of the Constitutional Commission and the initiatives submitted by the Public Defender to the Commission.
The Public Defender of Georgia and the Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland agreed on the prospects of future cooperation.
Public Defender Describes Borjomi Municipality’s Program for Newly Married Couples as Discriminatory
The Public Defender of Georgia echoes the requirement established by the Borjomi municipality program No2 for the newly married couples, which says that the husband must be registered in the town of Borjomi in order the couple to get monetary assistance.
The municipality’s social program provides for one-time assistance (GEL 150) to encourage young people. In order to enroll in the program, the newly married couples have to submit copies of their ID cards and marriage certificates, as well as their bank account numbers. However, another requirement for the married men is that they should be registered in Borjomi.
The Public Defender does not assess the appropriateness of the program itself and realizes that the program may be aimed at encouraging young couples with monetary assistance in the Borjomi municipality, though he believes that such an approach is discriminatory against women registered in the same municipality, as far as, unlike men, their place of registration has no importance. In addition, the legitimate goal of such a different treatment is unclear.
The Public Defender notes that similar requirement of the municipality emphasizes the dominance of men in the family and further strengthens the stereotypes about the roles of women and men in the society.
Pursuant to subparagraph “a” of article 5 of the Law on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, any institution is obliged to bring its activities in line with the anti-discrimination law or other anti-discrimination legislation in order to eliminate discrimination.
Based on the above, the Public Defender calls on the Borjomi municipality to cancel its discriminatory requirement concerning the place of men’s registration in the program intended for the newly married couples and to promote gender equality in the region through its future activities.
Public Defender's Statement on Neglect of Child's Best Interests in Kindergarten
The Public Defender is responding to the video spread on social networks, which shows children's performance of a “wedding” in Tbilisi’s 56th kindergarten. The Public Defender considers that this kind of educational process is contrary to the best interests of children and has negative impact on the formation of their consciousness.
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes full consideration of the child’s true and best interests as the major principle for ensuring protection and welfare of children, while the state is obliged to ensure relevant protection of children and realization of their best interests.
Article 29 of the same Convention protects the right of the child, according to which, his/her education shall be focused on the development of personality, talent and mental and physical abilities. Education should prepare children for an active life in a free society.
Accordingly, the preschool educational process should serve the harmonious development of children and should be relevant to their age-related needs and abilities.
The Public Defender calls on the Tbilisi Kindergartens Management Agency to ensure immediate response to the abovementioned event occurring in Tbilisi’s 56th kindergarten. He also calls on the pre-school institutions to use pre-school standards as guidelines and ensure that the educational process is in line with children’s age and development, in compliance with the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Public Defender's Hotline Marks 1-Year Anniversary
On November 9, 2016, the Public Defender of Georgia held an event on the occasion of the 1-year anniversary of its hotline and distributed flyers containing information about the hotline among the population; video was also prepared and spread on social networks with regard to the anniversary.
Ombudsman’s hotline 14-81 receives information about human rights violations from any part of Georgia for 24 hours a day within the statutory mandate.
Effective functioning of the hotline is ensured by operators and the rapid response team composed of authorized representatives of the Public Defender's Office.
The response team visits the sites of alleged violations only in Tbilisi, including during non-working hours, holidays and weekends, if:
- State (public) agencies put in danger any person’s life or health
- State (public) agencies subject any person to arbitrary arrest, detention, or otherwise restrict his/her liberty
- Domestic violence is committed and law enforcement agencies do not respond properly
- Human rights and freedoms guaranteed by the legislation and the constitution are violated
From November 2015 to October 2016, 294 protocols were drawn up on the basis of the notifications received through the hotline; the rapid response team visited 95 sites of alleged violations in Tbilisi.
The rapid response team most frequently visited the sites of alleged violations with regard to:
- Alleged ill-treatment by police officers (17 cases);
- Visiting defendants/convicts in the penitentiary facilities (16 cases);
- Alleged violation of the right to assembly (11 cases);
Calls are received by the hotline both from the landline phones (call is free) and cell phones (1 minute costs 6 tetris). The Public Defender's Office launched the hotline in November 2015 and the goal was to ensure timely response to alleged human rights violations, promote establishment of high standards of protection of human rights and increase trust in the Public Defender’s Office.