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Georgia failed to protect woman from gender-and honour-based violence, UN women’s rights committee finds

Georgian version (Word)

GENEVA (11 November 2021) — Georgia’s failure to investigate and prosecute gender and honour-based violence against a woman, who was severely beaten by family members in front of her young children, contributed to her death, the UN women’s rights committee has found.

In the Views published today, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) deplored both the failure of the Georgian authorities to arrest and prosecute family members who had beaten the victim, Khanum Jeiranova, senseless and their decision to return her to her relatives.  She was subsequently found dead.

The Committee issued its findings after considering a complaint filed by Jeiranova’s two children, who were 11 and 7 when their mother died.

Jeiranova, an ethnic Azerbaijani and a Georgian national, was accused of having an extramarital affair by her husband’s relatives. On 16 September 2014, three of her husband’s relatives rounded on her, dragged her along the village, beating her so hard that she lost consciousness several times.

That night, the village governor and police officers were called to the victim’s father's house where they saw her crying and begging for help as her family members wanted her to take a jar of rat poison. They didn’t make any arrest and didn’t send her to hospital.  The village governor took her away for the night but returned her to her mother the next morning. One day later, Jeiranova’s mother found her dead, her body hanging by a rope in the garden shed.

The mullahs who prepared Jeiranova’s body said that her clothes were covered in blood and that her body had been “beaten to a pulp”, according to a witness statement.

However, police did not conduct a forensic examination of the location after the family refused to allow it.

An investigation was opened but quickly closed, the prosecutors concluded that the victim had committed suicide as a result of her, what they described as, "shameful" and “dishonourable” behaviour.

“Ms. Jeiranova was a victim of intersecting discrimination related to ethnicity and stereotypical attitudes of the police and judicial authorities,” said Committee member Genoveva Tisheva.

“Had the Georgian authorities adequately protected Ms. Jeiranova against the gender-based violence inflicted on her, she would still be alive today,” she added.

The Committee found that Georgia had failed to provide effective protection and had not taken all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against Jeiranova. It also concluded that Georgia had violated its obligation to investigate and punish those responsible for the assault on the victim and her death.

The Committee urged Georgia to conduct a prompt, thorough and independent investigation into Jeiranova’s death and to prosecute those responsible. It requested Georgia to provide appropriate reparation, including adequate compensation, as well as an official apology to Ms. Jeiranova’s children. It urged George to ensure that all legislation, policies and measures that address domestic violence also include honour-based violence. In addition, it asked the State party to strengthen measures to ensure the right to life of women and their freedom from torture, with special attention to communities that are isolated, closed and where honour-based norms apply.

ENDS

For more information and media requests in Geneva, please contact:
Vivian Kwok at +41 (0) 22 917 9362 / vivian.kwok@un.org or the UN Human Rights Office Media Section at +41 (0) 22 928 9855 / ohchr-media@un.org

Background:

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women monitors States parties’ adherence to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which to date has 189 States parties. The Committee is made up of 23 members who are independent human rights experts in women’s rights drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties. The Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women allows the Committee to receive and examine complaints by individuals or groups of individuals under the jurisdiction a State party to the Optional Protocol, claiming to be victims of a violation of any of the rights set forth in the Convention. To date, 114 States have ratified or acceded to the Optional Protocol. The Committee’s views and decisions on individual communications are an independent assessment of States’ compliance with their human rights obligations under the Convention.