Human rights protection and media freedom have been hindered in postcommunist Georgia by the national government's assumption of central executive power to deal with states of political and military emergency and by the existence of semi-independent military forces. In 1993 the expression of opposition views in the independent media was interrupted by official and unofficial actions against newspapers and broadcasters, despite a stated policy that expression of antigovernment views would be tolerated if not accompanied by violent acts.
Both sides of the Abkhazian conflict claimed widespread interference with civilian human rights by their opponents. Among the charges were abuse of military prisoners, the taking of civilian hostages, and the shelling and blockading of civilian areas. In 1993 the Shevardnadze government began addressing claims of human rights abuses by its military forces and police, particularly against Gamsakhurdia partisans and the Abkhazian population. In January the Parliamentary Commission on Human Rights and Ethnic Minority Affairs formed the Council of Ethnic Minorities, which met with representatives of the Meskhetian Turk exile population to resolve the grievances of that group. At the same time, the Interethnic Congress of the People of Georgia was formed to improve ethnic Georgians' appreciation of minority rights.
Despite the government's efforts, the Abkhazian conflict continued the tension between necessary wartime controls and the need to protect human rights. In June 1993, the international human rights group Helsinki Watch cited Georgia for political persecution, media obstruction, and military abuses of civilian rights, and in October the United States listed human rights progress as a prerequisite for continued economic aid.
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