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Eduard Marikashvili

HRD, Lawyer
Georgian Democracy Initiative

Eduard Marikashvili is a Georgian human rights defender and lawyer. In his human rights litigation, he focuses on juvenile justice, criminal law and accountability. He has been Chairperson of the human rights organisation “Georgian Democracy Initiative” (GDI) since 2021. GDI is committed to defending human rights, expanding inclusivity in society and promoting tolerance, as well as strengthening democratic reforms, advancing the rule of law and enhancing transparency and accountability of public institutions. GDI carried out monitoring, open debate, fact-based research and analysis of policy options to address the challenges facing Georgia. Eduard Marikashvili has been working as a human rights lawyer since 2014, and has headed the Legal Aid Centre within the GDI since 2017. He has also been a lecturer in the Free University of Tbilisi since 2019.

Human rights defenders in Georgia are often subjected to physical attacks, threats and insults, defamation, and slander. In most cases, these forms of intimidation are levelled against those who protect and promote the rights of migrants and members of national, religious, or sexual minorities, as well as those working on politically sensitive cases and in remote areas where they have almost no opportunities for protection.

Considering that there is no independent mechanism to investigate violations committed by law enforcement agents, attempts to investigate police misconduct against HRDs and civic activists are often in vain or fail to produce tangible results. The Georgian judicial system lacks transparency and the appointment of judges takes place without any publicly defined or distinct criteria. There is also insufficient control over the power of law enforcement agencies to conduct illegal surveillance and eavesdropping.

Georgian authorities often fail to ensure the protection and security of peaceful demonstrations, especially those conducted by workers, religious, and LGBTI rights organisations. In most cases when demonstrations are attacked by violent mobs or in cases of hate crimes, perpetrators are not held accountable by the authorities. The right to freedom of expression is often restricted in relation to independent mass media, which often become targets of oppression in response to their criticism of government policies.