Georgia: UN calls for probe into use of force against anti-Government protesters

Georgia: UN calls for probe into use of force against anti-Government protesters

The United Nations human rights office today voiced concern about the disproportionate use of force against anti-Government protesters in Tbilisi, Georgia, last week and called for a probe into the actions of the police.

Anti-Government protests turned violent last Thursday, when police reportedly used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse a rally in the Georgian capital.

“We fully support the call by the Georgian Public Defender (the Ombudsman) for a comprehensive, effective and impartial investigation into the actions of the police,” Rupert Colville, the spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told reporters in Geneva.

“We stress that according to international law, the use of force shall be exercised to the minimum necessary and in line with the principles of necessity and proportionality. Attacks on physical integrity involving all sides should be promptly and duly investigated,” he stated.

OHCHR also called on all sides to refrain from violence and to act in line with national laws and international standards on freedom of assembly.

Mr. Colville noted that the Ombudsman has compiled a list of 162 people detained in the aftermath of the protests and that many of them have injuries of various sorts sustained in the dispersal of the demonstrations.

He stressed that individuals who have been arrested and detained should be afforded their rights in accordance with international human rights standards.

“In particular they must receive adequate medical treatment, be free from torture and ill-treatment, know the reasons for their arrests, be able to exercise fully their right to legal counsel and the right to challenge the lawfulness of the arrest and detention,” he stated.