On March 28 2023, Equality Now’s Eurasia Legal Advisor, Dariana Gryaznova, who has been working with us since September 2022 and has been based in Tbilisi, was refused re-entry into Georgia while coming back from Istanbul, Turkey. Ms. Gryaznova was not given any justifications for why she was refused entry. We have appreciated our collaboration to date with the Georgian authorities and law enforcement on various issues, particularly on increasing access to justice for victims of sexual violence, and therefore found these events particularly concerning.
Dariana Gryaznova is a human rights defender from Russia who, as a result of her legitimate, peaceful human rights work, found herself at risk in Russia and has been living legally in Georgia since September 2021. International law recognizes the legitimate promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons in all countries of the world and for individuals to be protected in the event of a violation of those rights. Human rights defenders, in particular, play an important role in contributing to the protection and promotion of human rights and are at particular risk of suffering from violations of their fundamental freedoms. The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Mary Lawlor, has expressed her support for Ms. Gryaznova’s unimpeded re-entry to Georgia and urges the Georgian authorities to continue extending their commitment to the protection of human rights defenders.
With that in mind, and recognizing Georgia’s own obligation to protect human rights defenders, we would respectfully request the Georgian authorities re-examine their reasons for refusing re-entry to Dariana Gryaznova and provide clear justifications under Georgian law for any continuing refusal, if applicable. Dariana Gryaznova is an invaluable member of Equality Now’s team, and her work is instrumental in our programs addressing violence and discrimination against women and girls in Georgia and other countries of the region. Therefore, we would be particularly grateful for the prompt resolution of this matter.