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Georgia Fails to Ensure the Security of Human Rights Defenders

02.06.2004

Georgia Fails to Ensure the Security of Human Rights Defenders

Struggle Against Trafficking Runs More and More Risks

On 26 May 26 2004 some unidentified persons attempted to kidnap the eleven year-old daughter of Mr Nugzar Sulashvili, the Chairman of the International Union: "Center for Foreign Citizens’ and Migrants’ Rights and Security" (FCRS) -, a Tbilisi-based NGO. The girl was at school at the time and the incident was averted by the timely involvement of  teachers and police officers.

Combating illegal migration and trans-national crime is of paramount importance because trafficking is becoming more dangerous day by day. Criminals who have been released from prison represent a danger not only for society but also for individual persons working in the fight against trafficking. Mr Nugzar Sulashvili, the Chairman of the International Union: "Center for Foreign Citizens’ and Migrants’ Rights and Security" (FCRS), has more than once become a victim of a trafficker’s aggression. On 26 May 2004 there was an attempted kidnapping of his eleven year-old daughter, Salome Sulashvili,  from the school which she attends.  It was thanks to the timely involvement of teachers and police that the attempted abduction was averted. Mr Sulashvili and his family, as well as other members of the organisation, have already been victims of acts of harassment in the past by means of anonymous telephone calls and letters threatening their lives.

The situation became aggravated since 18 May 2004 when the newspaper “Akhali Versia” (New Version) published the confidential information which FCRS provided to the Procedural Issues and Rules Committee of the Georgian Parliament. The information dealt with the participation of MPs in supporting illegal migration and trafficking. The precedent created by the Procedural Issues and Rules Committee of the Parliament; that is, the fact that the confidential information was made public by the press, served as the grounds for a new wave of aggression towards FCRS. One of the major concerns for the ‘mafia’ clans of traffickers was the fact that such a precedent would make it possible to make their names known to the public. The criminals have been asking to destroy the documents obtained by Mr Sulashvili which contain information implying the involvement of officials in trafficking and illegal migration.

Mr Sulashvili blames the Procedural Issues and Rules Committee of the Parliament which made the confidential information public. In addition he demands from the government to ensure his security even though the Public Defender fails to provide any guarantees. Mr Sulashvili stated further that Article 24 (Protection of Witnesses) of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime has been violated.

The International Union: "Center for Foreign Citizens’ and Migrants’ Rights and Security" (FCRS) was one of the first organisations in Georgia which brought to national attention the topic of trafficking—previously a taboo—and made the public aware of the danger that tens of thousands of people are facing.

The FCRS Bureau for Combating Trafficking and Illegal Migration has gathered information at different times on the activity of high ranking officials engaged in trafficking and revealed the fact that trafficking and illegal migration in Georgia was protected by the mafia clan of numerous officials from high legislative and executive bodies.

The FCRS founded the Shelter and Rehabilitation Centre for the Victims of Trafficking and has provided different kinds of free assistance to several thousands of people during the last four years despite the fact that during this time there have been several attempts to discredit the FCRS and several acts of vandalism perpetrated against the organisation.

On 12 March 2000 several unidentified persons attacked the FCRS office and destroyed equipment and important documents. The same  occurred on 18 July 2000.

On 4 November 2000 unidentified persons attacked and severely beat the First Deputy to the Chairman of the organisation, Mr Anton Robakidze, who was about to go to trial and defend the interests of a victim of trafficking. On this occasion the attackers took the documents to be presented to the court.
At 11.00 pm on n 2 January  2001 unidentified persons attacked the FCRS chairman’s car whilst he and his family were travelling from Rustavi to Tbilisi. All indications show that this was a premeditated event in that the attackers took several documents during the attack.

Further materials about trafficking in Georgia disappeared on 14 August 2001 at Tbilisi airport. These documents, obtained by Mr Sulashvili, contained information which mplied the  involvement of officials in trafficking. In addition, several video tapes were misplaced, some of which had been prepared by Sulashvili and the American Coalition Against Trafficking. Following this, Mr Sulashvili was blackmailed by the criminals.

On 13 May  2002 some unidentified persons attacked and beat Mr Ioseb Sulashvili as he travelled to his home. They warned him that he should cease to investigate activities about employment firms participating in trafficking and break his ties with the FCRS.

At 11.00 am on 15 July 2002, Mr Nugzar Sulashvili and his family were the victims of an armed attack at their home. The aggressor intended to murder Mr Sulashvili,  together with his wife and daughter, however the neighbours and police managed to step in and save their lives.

Criminal cases have been brought in defence of the above-mentioned persons although the criminals continue to remain unpunished. Moreover, unidentified persons systematically get in touch with the Chairman of the Union and other staff and threaten them and their families with physical assault and injury.

As previously mentioned, the traffickers striving to take revenge on Mr Nugzar Sulashvili have made an attempt to kidnap his eleven year-old daughter Salome who has currently been taken to a safer place even though it her from attending school. A criminal case has been started and the details are under investigation.
People who have been defending the rights of others for the past years and who have saved thousands of people from danger have, themselves, turned out to be in serious danger. Mr Sulashvili’s family is gravely concerned about these events but the government fails to provide them with any security guarantees.

HRIDC CALLS UPON EVERYBODY TO EXPRESS SOLIDARITY TO FCRS


 

 

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Name: მალხაზ ნიკოლეიშვილი
2010-12-16 13:14
გამარჯობათ. ვცხოვრობ თბილისში იძულებით გადაადგილებული სოხუმიდან. ამჟამად ვარ გლდანში უშიშროების აკადემიის საერტო საცხოვრებელში. თელასი აყენებს სოჩიკებს მაგრამ რამოდენიმე სართულზე მოიპარეს კაბელები დგეს მოვიდნენ მატი წარმომადგენლები და გამოაცხადეს რომ ჩართავენ მხოლოდ იმ სართულებს რომლებიც არ არის დაზიანებული ხოლო დანარჩენებს კი დატოვებენ უ შუქოდ გაურკვეველი ვადით. ჩვენ ვთვლით რომ ეს არის ჩვენი უპლებების უხეში დარგვევა გთხოვთ დახმარებას
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