Disinformation as if the U.S. did not React to Human Rights Violations during the UNM Era

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On November 26th, the website “tvalsazrisi.ge” published Irakli Jankarashvili’s article with the headline “No one at the U.S. Embassy was outraged by torture in prisons, media terror and the merciless dispersal of peaceful demonstrators.” According to Jankarashvili, during the UNM era, the U.S. Embassy has not expressed frustration or concern over issues like the events of November 7, torture in prisons, the shooting of young people on the streets, the crackdown on businesses, the crackdown on T.V. stations and peaceful demonstrators, and did not criticize either the judiciary or the Supreme Council of Georgia.

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The claim that the U.S. Embassy did not make any critical assessments on human rights abuses during the rule of the United National Movement, including the dispersal of demonstrations, pressure on the media environment and the situation in penitentiaries, is false. The U.S. Embassy participates in preparing the State Department’s annual human rights report, which includes a number of critical assessments of the challenges to democracy in Georgia from 2007 to 2012. In addition, both the U.S. Ambassador and other U.S. government officials have made a number of critical statements during this period.

The allegation that the U.S. Embassy did not respond to human rights violations during the rule of the United National Movement is groundless. The U.S. Embassy participates in the preparation of the annual report of the U.S. Department of State, which relies on critical assessments and reports of local NGOs. Based on the information provided by the embassy, ​​the U.S. State Department and its representatives assess the overall situation in the country. Criticism of human rights, freedom of the media and the judiciary in the country, and freedom of speech and assembly were frequently found in human rights reports prepared by the U.S. Department of State. For example, the table below provides excerpts from reports prepared from 2007 to 2012.

Year

The assessment found in the Human Rights Report

2007

“While the government’s human rights record improved in some areas during the year, its record worsened in other areas, especially during the fall, and serious problems remained. There was at least one reported death due to excessive use of force by law enforcement officers, cases of torture and mistreatment of detainees, abuse of prisoners, excessive use of force to disperse demonstrations, poor conditions in prisons and pretrial detention facilities, impunity of police officers, continued overuse of pretrial detention for less serious offenses, lack of access for average citizens to defense attorneys, lack of due process in some cases, and reports of government pressure on the judiciary. Respect for freedom of speech, the press, assembly and political participation worsened, especially during the fall crisis. Other problems included reports of government pressure on the judiciary and the media, restrictions on freedom of assembly and freedom of speech, and corruption among senior-level officials.”

2008

“The main human rights abuses reported during the year included at least two suspected deaths due to excessive use of force by law enforcement officers, intimidation of suspects, abuse of prisoners, poor conditions in prisons and pretrial detention facilities, police impunity, lack of access for average citizens to defense attorneys, reports of politically motivated detentions, lack of due process in some cases, and reports of government pressure on the judiciary. Respect for freedom of speech and the press lessened, but began to rebound by year’s end.”

2009

„The main human rights abuses reported during the year included at least one suspected death due to excessive use of force by law enforcement officers, politically motivated kidnappings and assaults, poor prison conditions, abuse of prisoners, including juveniles, arbitrary arrest and detention, politically motivated imprisonment, excessive use of force to disperse demonstrations, pressure that appeared politically motivated on owners of property, lack of due process, government pressure on the judiciary, and senior-level corruption in the government. Respect for media freedom declined, and there were cases of government interference with the rights of assembly and association.“

2010

„The main human rights abuses reported during the year included abuse of prisoners and detainees, poor prison conditions, and arbitrary arrest and detention. There were reports of selective application of the law – crimes allegedly involving government officials or supporters were slowly investigated and often remained pending, while crimes allegedly involving persons or organizations linked to the opposition were investigated quickly and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. This imbalance led to allegations of impunity for government officials. There continued to be allegations of a lack of due process, government pressure on the judiciary, and that individuals remained in prison for politically motivated reasons. There were reports of pressure on businesses to suppress potential support for the opposition and independent media. There were reports of curbs on media freedom. There were some cases of restrictions on religious freedom and a lack of progress on religious issues.“

2011

The most important human rights problems reported during the year were:

  1. 1. Abuse of prisoners and detainees by government officials as well as dangerously substandard prison conditions.
  2. 2. Shortfalls in the rule of law, such as concerns about ensuring the judiciary’s independent and even-handed application of due process protections.
  3. 3. Government interference with unions’ fundamental freedom of association in several areas, including interference with strikes, arbitrary dismissals, interference with collection of dues, and harassment and intimidation of labor activists.

Other problems reported during the year included security forces’ use of excessive force against demonstrators without criminal accountability, in particular during the breakup of opposition protests on May 26; harassment of members of the political opposition; and continued allegations of politically motivated imprisonment, primarily of individuals incarcerated prior to 2011. There were reports of improper government use of eminent domain to seize private property. Although parliament adopted a law providing for greater transparency of media ownership, citizens had limited access to diverse and unfettered media.

2012

“The most important human rights problems reported during the year were: Torture and abuse of prisoners, detainees, and others by government corrections and law enforcement officials before the October change in government, as well as dangerously substandard prison conditions. Shortfalls in the rule of law, such as lack of judicial independence and a lack of objective judicial scrutiny of executive actions, resulting in an uneven application of due process protections, which intensified in the campaign period before the October parliamentary elections. Impediments to the exercise of the fundamental freedoms of association, assembly, and expression, particularly for members of the political opposition, combined with obstacles to political participation.

Other problems reported during the year included allegations of property transfers to the government under duress and improper government use of eminent domain to seize private property…

…Some journalists reported physical and verbal assaults by police and intimidation by government officials due to their reporting.”

Furthermore, the allegation that the U.S. Embassy did not make any statements about the excessive use of force during the dispersal of the demonstrations during the rule of the United National Movement is not false. This can be confirmed by the statements made by the U.S. Ambassador and other high-ranking U.S. officials after November 7th and May 26th. The same statements show calls for media independence.

For instance, on May 26th, 2011, the ten U.S. Ambassador to Georgia, John Bass, expressed his concern, stating that the Georgian government had to investigate possible cases of excessive use of force by law enforcers.

The same call was made on May 28th by U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner.

Mark Toner: We believe that the rights to peacefully express the aspirations of the citizens of Georgia, as in any country, should be respected. And we would call on a government investigation into the incidents of the last several days in which several people were killed.”

On November 8th, 2007, the U.S. State Department issued a statement calling the Georgian government to lift the state of emergency and allow all media outlets to resume broadcasting. On November 10th, Matthew Bryza, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, stated he would tell the Georgian government that the state of emergency should be lifted immediately, calling it a big disappointment. During a briefing on November 16, Sean McCormack, the current spokesman for the U.S. Department of State, stressed the importance of holding free and fair elections and ensuring media independence:

Sean McCormack: “Sometimes it may be difficult or uncomfortable for governments to have that independent, robust media, but it’s an essential element of any thriving democracy.”

Noteworthy, the similar claim that the Western partners did not criticize the Georgian judiciary until 2012 was made by the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Garibashvili, in July 2021. In fact, the impartiality of the judges was assessed negatively in the Human Rights Reports produced by the U.S. State Department’s every year. For more information on this topic, read the material prepared by “Myth Detector:”

About the source:

The article of tvalsazrisi.ge belongs to Irakli Jankarashvili, the author of the Kremlin-linked outlet “News-Front.” Jankarashvili is a supporter of the pro-Kremlin “Alliance of Patriots of Georgia” and often publishes anti-Western and pro-Russian, as well as pro-government and anti-oppositional posts and articles. Jankarashvili also manages a number of Facebook pages and accounts, publishing disinformation and manipulative content. For more information about the pages managed by Irakli Jankarashvili and related platforms, see the material:

Jankarashvili has disseminated similar information in the past as well, arguing that NGOs did not respond to human rights violations until 2012:


The article has been written in the framework of Facebook’s fact-checking program. You can read more about the restrictions that Facebook may impose based on this article via this link. You can find information about appealing or editing our assessment via this link.

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Topic: Politics
Violation: Disinformation
Country: USA
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