Georgia: Draft legislation on “insulting religious feelings” will undermine freedom of expression

A draft law which, if passed, will effectively ban blasphemy and undermine freedom of expression in Georgia, is being considered by parliamentary committees. The proponents of the draft law have come up with this initiative with the expressly stated aim of protecting the Georgian Orthodox Church and its clergy from “insults” by which, in the examples the proponents cited, they meant public criticism of the Church. The proposed legislation would be incompatible with Georgia’s international obligations. It may effectively outlaw criticism of religious leaders and institutions, and suppress free speech on topical political and social issues, including the rights of women, of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, and of religious minorities.

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