Review of REAct 2020 Report

About the instrument of REAct

REAct (Rights – Evidence – Action) is an instrument, which was developed by the organization of Frontline AIDS (Great Britain) for monitoring and instant response to human rights violations at the level of the communities.

In Eastern Europe and Central Asia region, REAct system is being implemented by the Alliance for Public Health in the framework of the regional project #SoS_project with The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria financial support.
REAct allows you to document and respond to barriers related to human rights, access to services and HIV prevention and treatment.
Georgian Harm Reduction Network (GHRN) is the main implementing partner, which works in partnership with 14 other nongovernmental organizations to provide a wide range of services to key populations, including legal services and services for women.

 

2019 representatives of key groups sought
the assistance of the REActors with regard to violations of their rights in 2020.

The largest number of clients was registered from among sex workers. This is because the organizations involved in cases in REAct documenting have a longer history of cooperation just with this key group. At the same time, often, clients are simultaneously representatives of several key groups (sex worker + trans*people, sex worker+ PWID), therefore the sum of values for key groups will exceed the total number of registered clients (219).

12 CASES OF VIOLATION OF RIGHTS RELATED TO COVID-19 WERE DOCUMENTED.
The pandemic period has become especially problematic for drug users. It was not infrequent when partners refused to participate in the opioid substitution therapy program within one week. During this period, cases of physical
and psychological violence have become more frequent. The cases of job loss, domestic violence, abandonment of housing, economic violence and much more had also increased in number.
The police often forced sex workers to leave their workplaces well in advance of the curfew. They have been threatened with fines in the amount of 400 GEL for interference with a police officer (Article 173 of AVC) and 2 000 GEL for violating curfew by Government decree N322 from 23 may 2020. This could significantly worsen their economic situation considering just in this period most of the sex workers lost job as well as lost their homes.
But, despite the threats by police, no illegal fines due to COVID-19 are documented in the REAct database.

Recommendations for the public authorities of the country on the performance of duties in the human rights
1. Consider the issue of the complete decriminalization for creating a threat of intentional transmission of HIV infection to another person and a considerable limitation of the application of the norms on criminal liability only for actions of HIV transmission if there is only a direct intent, art. 131 of CC of Georgia.
2. Consider the issue of decriminalization for concealing the source of venereal disease and contacts with patients, art. 46 of AVC of Georgia.
3. Exclude the punishment for prostitution and consider the issue of cancellation of art. 1723 of AVC of Georgia as well as considerable limitation of the application of art.art.253-2552 of CC of Georgia
only in relation to acts that are not related to voluntary sexual acts between adults.
4. Ensure political and financial support to public organizations that provide social and legal assistance to people from vulnerable groups.
5. Ensure greater involvement of the Office of the Commissioner for Human Rights in providing low-threshold services for the protection of the rights of vulnerable groups of the population.
6. Carry out an audit of regulatory documents by Ministry of Justice as having met international standards for the protection of human rights with respect to the most vulnerable groups
of the population and propose appropriate measures to address the issues identified.

Strategic steps in the framework of REAct for 2021
Apart from documenting human rights violations and providing assistance to victims at the individual level, the following activities are planned:
 Presentation of data collected through the REAct system for high-level governmental representations, members of the Country Coordinating Mechanisms, representatives of the Ombudsman’s office
 Trainings/webinars, distribution of information material with a view to raising awareness of key groups representatives about their rights and the most effective ways to protect them
 Involvement of professional attorneys to defend the rights of key groups representatives in courts and creating a pool of friendly attorneys through raising their awareness of the rights and needs of people living with HIV or vulnerable to HIV
 Training hub for REACtors and paralegals with a view to increase their competence in the process of providing primary legal aid
 Integrate the cases collected in shadow reports to UN bodies in cooperation with regional networks of key groups representatives.
 Media coverage of strategic cases with a view to reducing stigma towards PLHIV and representatives of key groups.
 Ensuring financial stability and continuation of REAct component implementation once regional project # SoS_project has terminated its activities.


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