Violence Against Women in Georgia
Georgia
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Population of women: 2,236,100/4,219,200
Life expectancy of women (at birth): 76
Women's adult literacy: 100%
Unemployment of women:
12.6%
Women engaged in economic activity: 55%

Source
: U.N. Statistics Division, Social Indicators, updated June 2011


last updated October 2008  

 

Gender Equality

Article 14 of the Constitution of Georgia states that "[e]veryone is born free and is equal before the law, regardless of race, skin colour, language, sex, religion, political and other beliefs, national, ethnic and social origin, property and title status or place of residence." Additionally, Article 142 of the Penal Code punishes the violation of human rights based on a protected class, including sex. Punishment for breach of this offense ranges from twelve months of correctional labor up to twenty-four months' imprisonment.

According to the United Nations Committee on Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Georgian Parliament adopted a State Concept on Gender Equality in 2006 that recognized the international principles of gender equality in all spheres of life and provided the framework for the elimination of discrimination against women. Additionally, the State Concept calls on the Georgian government to take measures, including legislative action, to achieve gender equality. However, local non-governmental organizations (“NGOs”), such as the Anti-Violence Network of Georgia, Georgian Young Lawyers' Association, the Women's Center, and Women for Democracy, are the leading groups pursuing gender equality in Georgia. Women's NGOs were actively involved in election processes and in the engagement of candidates in discussions about gender issues.

 Domestic Violence

According to the 2007 U.S. Department of State Country Report on Human Rights Practices (“Country Report”), the Georgian government has acknowledged that domestic violence is a widespread problem and is taking measures to improve the situation.  The first Georgian law on domestic violence came into effect on June 9, 2006.  In this law, the definition of domestic violence goes beyond physical violence to include psychological, economic, and sexual violence.  The law however, does not explicitly criminalize domestic violence. Instead, perpetrators of domestic violence are prosecuted under existing criminal provisions, such as prohibitions on battery or rape. Additionally, the 2006 law allows victims of domestic violence to file immediate protective orders against their abusers and permits police to issue a temporary restrictive order against persons suspected of abusing a family member.  The temporary order is approved by a court within 24 hours and becomes a protective order that prohibits the abuser from coming within 100 meters of the victim and from using common property for six months.

The 2007 Country Report reveals that many women who were victims of domestic violence were reluctant to report the crimes because of the social stigma attached to such a report.  According to a joint report issued by the World Organisation against Torture (OMCT) and the Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA),  the patriarchical nature of Georgian society continues to be a barrier to eliminating domestic violence.  However, the publication reports on a 2006-2008 activity plan to combat domestic violence.  This plan will include: a public campaign to increase awareness of the issue, a strengthened legal base for prosecution of domestic violence cases, increased support for victims, and a database on domestic violence cases.     

 

Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment

According to Women 2000 - An Investigation into the Status of Women's Rights in Central and South-Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States (“Women 2000”), rape is punishable by imprisonment of three to seven years under Article 137 of the Penal Code. Rape is defined as sexual intercourse obtained through force, threat of force, or through exploitation of the victim's helplessness. If rape is committed repeatedly or by a repeat offender of rape involving anal sex, oral sex, or particularly cruel treatment, the perpetrator may be punished by five to ten years of imprisonment. The penalty increases to five to fifteen years if committed by a group of individuals, if committed knowingly against a pregnant woman or a minor, or if committed using violence or abuse of authority. Rape of a juvenile (less than fourteen years of age) is punishable by ten to twenty years of imprisonment. Article 138 of the Penal Code punishes "violent acts of a sexual nature," and Article 139 punishes any person who engages in sexual intercourse or contact by issuing threats to honor, damage to property, or exploiting authority or the victim's dependence. 

Although rape is prohibited, many instances of rape went unreported because of the social stigma for victims.  The OCT/GYLA publication reports that marital rape is not punishable under the Georgian Criminal Code. According to the 2007 Country Report, generally, criminal cases of rape can only be initiated following an official complaint by the victim.  In 2006, the ministry of internal affairs reported 167 cases of rape and attempted rape and initiated criminal prosecutions in 106 of these cases.

The 2007 Country Report states that sexual harassment in the workplace continues to be a problem in Georgia.  Although there is a law prohibiting sexual harassment the Country Report criticizes the Georgian government for not effectively enforcing it.  However, the Country Report acknowledges the improvements made in women’s access to the labor market.

 Trafficking

The 2008 Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) categorizes Georgia as a Tier 1 country that fully complies with standards on trafficking.   The TIP Report recognizes Georgia as a transit country for traffickers, but one that is progressing in combating human trafficking.  Women trafficked through Georgia often end up in Turkey, Greece, the United Arab Emirates, North America, and Western Europe to work in hotels, bars, restaurants, or as domestic help.  However, the TIP Report lauds Georgia’s efforts to prosecute traffickers.  Law enforcement officers in Georgia must complete a mandatory training and information session on trafficking. 

On 9 June 2003, the Georgian parliament amended the Criminal Code to criminalize trafficking in persons. Articles 143(1) and 143(2) criminalize trafficking in persons and trafficking in children.

Article 143(1) of the Criminal Code of Georgia states that the “[s]elling or buying a human being or making any other unlawful transaction in relation to him/her as well as recruitment, transfer, hiding or harboring a human being by means of coercion, blackmail or deception for the purpose of his/her exploitation” is punishable by five to twelve years’ imprisonment. When committed repeatedly, against two or more persons, knowingly in relation to a pregnant woman, by use of official powers, by taking the victim across borders, by use of violence dangerous to life and health or by threat of such violence, by use of vulnerable position of the human being or his/her material or other dependence on the offender, the sentence increases to eight to fifteen years. When committed by an organized group or if trafficking results in the death of the victim or other grave result, the sentence increases to twelve to twenty years.

A note following Article 143(1) defines the term “exploitation” as

“use of a human being for the purpose of forced labor, involvement into criminal or other anti-social activity or prostitution, sexual exploitation or other kind of service, placing into contemporary forms of slavery or for the purpose of transplantation or other use of human organ, part of organ or human tissue.”

The note also defines the term "contemporary forms of slavery" as

“deprivation of identification documents, restriction of the freedom of movement, prohibition of communication with the family, including correspondence and telephone conversation, cultural isolation, or forcing to work in conditions degrading human honor and dignity or without any reimbursement or with inadequate reimbursement.”

The Georgian Criminal Code prohibits trafficking in children in a separate article. According to Article 143(2) the “[s]elling or buying a minor or making any other unlawful transaction in relation to him/her as well as well as his/her recruitment, transfer, hiding or harboring for the purpose of exploitation” is punishable by eight to fifteen years’ imprisonment. When committed repeatedly, by means of coercion, blackmail or deception, against two or more minors, by use of official powers, by taking the victim across borders, by use of violence dangerous to life and health or by threat of such violence, knowingly by use of vulnerable position of a minor or his/her material or other dependence on the offender, the sentence increases to twelve to seventeen years. When committed by an organized group or if trafficking results in the death of the victim or other grave result, the crime is punishable with deprivation of liberty for 15 years or with life imprisonment.

According to the 2007 Country Report, in 2006 Georgia enacted the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons.    The Country Report also acknowledges Georgia’s efforts to provide rehabilitation and support to victims of trafficking.  This law makes it easier to prosecute traffickers, increases minimum sentences for convicted traffickers, and clarifies the government’s responsibilities for victim identification and assistance.  In 2006, there were convictions returned in 13 cases against traffickers, according to the Country Report.  In these cases 16 traffickers were each sentenced to an average prison term of 10 years.

A Permanent Interagency Antitrafficking Council was established and chaired by the prosecutor general.  During 2006, the council coordinated government efforts against trafficking.  Such efforts included the adoption and implementation of the anti-trafficking law and a national victim referral and assistance mechanism, the appointment of a national anti-trafficking coordinator, the allocation of $70,000 for victim assistance, the training of judges and prosecutors on the new law, the establishment of victim hotlines, the publication of warnings about trafficking dangers for travelers, and the funding of shelters for victims.

 

Compiled from:

http://www.avng.ge/Eng.htm

“State Concept on Gender Equality”, 2006. http://www.google.com/url?sa=U&start=2&q=http://www.parliament.ge/files/98_12977_250758_concept_gender_E.doc&usg=AFQjCNGamJVV9JBDAzwMqaVD5e2NsMAQuA

2007 Country Report on Human Rights Practices: Georgia. Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, U.S. Department of State, 11 March 2008.

Women 2000: An Investigation into the Status of Women's Rights in Central and South-Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States, International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, 5 November 2000. (PDF, 26 pages).

"Women’s Anti-discrimination Committee Encourages Georgia to Widen Scope of Efforts to Promote Gender Equality", United Nations Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, 15 August 2006.

Law of Georgia of 9 June, 2003 on the Amendments to the Criminal Code of Georgia  (pdf 3 pages)

Annual Report of State Security Council, January 2005

Decree of the President of Georgia #15 “On the Approval of the Action Plan on

Combating Trafficking in Persons 2003-2005”, 17 January, 2003

Decree of the President of Georgia #623 “ On the Approval of the Action Plan on Combating Trafficking in Persons 2005-2006”, 29 December, 2004

Decree of the President of Georgia #50 “On Approval of the Composition and Rules of the State Security Council Temporary Interagency Commission on Combating Trafficking in Persons”

"Violence Against Women in Georgia", joint report issued by: the World Organisation against Torture and the Georgian Young Lawyers' Association, August 2006. (pdf 40 pages)