NGOs Condemn Attack on African Students in Tbilisi

14 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) based in Georgia, united under the coalitions “No to Phobia” and “For Equality” have released a statement regarding the attack on African students in Tbilisi two days ago, expressing their concern.

The NGOs say that the video, filmed and made public by the attacked students, shows racist statements and motions from the Georgian agressors.

The statement reads that the African students were attacked at the sport stadium on Beliashvili Street, Dighomi District, on April 8, while they were playing football. The students claim the reason for the aggression from the attackers was their skin color. They added that the abusers urged them to leave the territory of Georgia.

The organizations disapprove of the decision of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) of Georgia to launch an investigation into the case under Article 126 of Criminal Code of Georgia, pertaining to physical violence. Instead, the NGOs claim that the investigation should be continued under Article 142, pertaining to racial discrimination.

“It should be noted that people from Africa and Asia often become victims of xenophobia and racial discrimination in Georgia…In order to eliminate similar discriminatory social practices, a strict anti-discrimination policy should be enacted in Georgian educational institutions,” the statement reads.

The NGOs also addressed the Prosecutor’s Office, urging them to thoroughly study the case, and called on the MIA to take proper measures in order to hold all attackers responsible.

The victims told Georgian media that they were playing football at 18.00 at the stadium when a Georgian man urged them to leave it and the country. According to the students, after refusing, several other men joined the abuser and they physically attacked the students, calling “Niggers”.

Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze says Tbilisi is one of the most tolerant cities, adding the incident was a "very unpleasant fact."

“The investigation will find out what happened that day…I would like to ask the President of the Football Federation, Levan Kobiashvili, to organize a friendly match between Nigerian students and the local population,” the Mayor said.

By Thea Morrison

10 April 2018 11:22