TDI on the Case of Racial Discrimination

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Aaron Charles, a citizen of United Kingdom living in Georgia, became a victim of racial discrimination twice  within a time span of two weeks in Tbilisi. First, on June 20, in a Smart supermarket he was insulted verbally on the ground of race, and on June 28, in a McDonald’s restaurant he got nearly physically offended.

Information about above-mentioned cases was disseminated through social networks and media.

Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI) interviewed Aaron Charles about the incidents. According to him, in a Smart supermarket an unknown man approached Aaron and his girlfriend and without any motivation insulted them. Despite the fact, the security of the supermarket were present at the moment, they did not offer an adequate reaction to the incident. With regard to another case in a McDonald’s restaurant, unknown two men tried to physically offend Aaron and even the police were called in. However, instead of inquiring about necessary details of the incident, the police revealed discriminatory attitude towards Aaron asking unrelated questions about his race and origins. According to Aaron, the police did not inform him clearly about his rights and applying procedures to the law-enforcement authorities. Hence, he did not file a complaint.

These incidents have appearance of the offence motivated by racial intolerance, which may either qualify as crime of hooliganism or administrative offence of petty hooliganism once the investigation is carried out.

Despite of the fact that this information was available in the media, the Ministry of Internal Affairs did not open investigation of this case. Pursuant to Article 101, paragraph 1 of the Criminal Procedure Code of Georgia, “The ground of initiation of investigation is information about crime, provided to investigator or prosecutor, exposed in the criminal proceedings or published by Mass Media.”

The victims have not reported the incident to the law-enforcement authorities yet. Nonetheless, the information published in media suffices for initiation of investigation of the above-mentioned incident and for imposing the relevant criminal or administrative liability on the offender.

It needs to be mentioned, that the cases of offence motivated by racial intolerance have become alarmingly frequent in the recent period in Georgia.  State has a positive liability to protect all residents of Georgia regardless of their race and/or color of skin.

Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI) calls on law-enforcement authorities of Georgia to react upon recent cases of racial discrimination timely and in an efficient manner.

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