17 August 2022,   21:12
Public Defender responds to attacks on participants in campaign “Going Home to Europe”

On June 29 and 30, 2022, reports have been actively spread on the attempts to disrupt the information campaign of the Going Home to Europe movement at various locations and physical and verbal attacks on its participants. In particular, according to the media, human rights activists, students and politicians, who meet with population to spread information about European integration and the peaceful gathering scheduled for July 3, are hindered by aggressive groups mobilized on the ground. One such violent incident took place in one of the buildings of Tbilisi State University.

The Public Defender emphasizes that the organization of a pre-announced peaceful rally and distribution of information cards for this purpose are fully protected by the freedom of assembly and expression, and it is the responsibility of the Government to ensure the realization of the above. It should be noted that attacks on campaign participants and obstruction of their activities create a frightening environment and contain elements of crime, which may have a detrimental effect on the freedom of assembly and expression and serve to incite aggression and violence in the country.

Thus, the Public Defender calls on the law enforcement agencies, by mobilizing appropriate resources, to facilitate the conduct of information campaigns by the “Going Home to Europe” movement in a calm and safe environment and to timely prevent violations, criminal acts and attempts, as well as to launch investigations into offences. At the same time, it is important for the administration of TSU to effectively ensure the safety of students by controlling the entry of third parties into the area of the institution and immediately responding to incidents.