We negatively assess the approval of the Gender Equality Council 2018-2020 Action Plan on April 17, 2018 by the Parliament of Georgia, as, on the one hand, the Action Plan has not been worked out with the involvement of civil society, and on the other hand, the plan does not reflect the needs of women belonging to various vulnerable groups (including religious and ethnic minorities, lesbian, bisexual and transgender women, and disabled women).
While planning policy on gender equality it is of vital importance that the state pays attention to the problems of women belonging to vulnerable groups and that the state takes responsibility in solving the specific problems. The neglection of the interests of discriminated women on two or more grounds makes the impression that the state does not see their needs and leaves these issues beyond state policy, including the legal and social status of transgender people in the context of gender equality.
It should be noted that in order to achieve the goals of gender equality, the Council develops the state concept of gender equality and action plans. Before approval of the Equality State Concept and Action Plan of 2018-2020, the Council offered non-governmental organizations, including organizations working on LGBT issues, to submit their recommendations on the content. It should be noted that the Council did not allow civil society groups to present their recommendations regarding the action plan. Despite this, the community organizations provided their observations and recommendations for the consideration of the Gender Equality Council. As members of the Council explain, the concept of equality is based on the research “Gender Equality in Georgia: Barriers and Recommendations”. It should be emphasized that the study and recommendations of groups of different women were included in the study, but the Council did not take these recommendations and did not reflect them in the Action Plan.
Recommendations submitted by LGBT community organizations concerned the rights of transgender people in Georgia. Transgender persons are constantly discriminated in employment, education, healthcare and social spheres. The recommendations included the following:
• With the purpose of improving the legal status of transgender people, removal of the requirement for the sex reassignment procedure (including the surgery) vie preparation of the legislative initiative;
• For improving the medical care of transgender people, preparation of the legislative package project on the amendments and additions to the regulatory laws regulating the healthcare sector on the basis of existing research;
• Implementation, support and participation in measures to promote awareness on gender-identity-based crimes (hate-motivated crimes);
• In collaboration with relevant agencies planning and conducting awareness-raising activities regarding the necessity of providing education in Georgian schools on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
We urge the Parliament of Georgia to consider changes and amendments to the Action Plan and reflect the specific needs of women belonging to various vulnerable groups, and at the same time to grant civil society representatives the opportunity to present remarks and opinions. Finally, we call upon the special attention of all the branches of the Georgian government to be more sensitive to the vulnerable groups with specific needs.
Article 42 of the Constitution
Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI)
Media Development Foundation (MDF)
Institute for Democracy and Safe Development (IDSD)