A group of civil society organizations have called on incoming PM Bidzina Ivanishvili to review his nomination for minister in charge of internally displaced persons because of latter’s use of “hate speech and racial remarks.”
Ivanishvili nominated Davit Darakhvelidze as the minister for IDP in his incoming government on October 16. Darakhvelidze was Georgian Dream’s majoritarian MP candidate in Ambrolauri single-mandate constituency in western Georgia, where he lost the race to UNM’s candidate.
After the nomination was made, two separate videos were circulated on Internet with both of them recorded before the elections, during the pre-election campaign; in one video Darakhvelidze is seen talking aggressively with journalist and insulting her and in another video, which is heavily edited, Darakhvelidze is saying “every negro you meet in Tbilisi is a citizen, Indian and Chinese as well”; he also says: “Georgia must be for Georgians.”
On October 17 Darakhvelidze told Maestro TV that his remarks were “a mistake” and that he had “no xenophobic attitudes” towards anyone.
“Non-governmental organizations are concerned that the ministerial candidate… used hate speech and racial remarks, as well as aggressive language in relation to media. These remarks are in conflict with European values and the Euro-Atlantic integration course, which represent Georgia’s declared foreign policy priority and violate fundamental human rights and freedoms,” reads a joint statement released on October 19 by a group of civil society organizations.
The statement is signed by Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association; Transparency International Georgia; International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy; Multinational Georgia; Open Society Georgia Foundation; Article 42 of Constitution; Charter of Journalistic Ethics of Georgia; Georgian Regional Media Association; Green Alternative.
“The non-governmental organizations are requesting prime ministerial candidate [Bidzina Ivanishvili] to review this nomination for the post of [minister for IDPs] and to be more careful and principled while selecting candidates for various public offices,” reads the statement.