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IDFI: Government Decision to Impose a Curfew Contradicts the Constitution

IDFI: Government Decision to Impose a Curfew Contradicts the Constitution

IDFI urges the Georgian government not to impose restrictions on Covid-19 that infringe on freedom of assembly and expression.

On November 6, 2020, the Prime Minister announced that restrictions on freedom of expression would not apply. Despite this, the next day, the Georgian government announced the introduction of a curfew from November 9 in seven major cities of Georgia.

Here we would like to answer the explanation of the Georgian government that the introduced restriction is not a curfew. Curfew is nothing more than a severe restriction on freedom of movement. The introduction of a general ban on unauthorized movement in 7 large cities of the country, where about 50% of the country’s population lives, cannot be considered a targeted measure. The introduced restriction is nothing more than a curfew – a large-scale measure of restricting the right, which, according to the provisions of the Law of Georgia “On State of Emergency”, can be applied only during a state of emergency or war.

It should be noted that the announced decision has not yet been formalized by the corresponding legal act of the government, which means that the curfew cannot be introduced until 12 o’clock today.

If the Government of Georgia intends to adopt a decision by the Interdepartmental Coordination Council on the introduction of a curfew, it must clearly indicate that this decision does not apply to persons who move in accordance with the rule on freedom of assembly and expression or are present at the place of assembly.

It should be noted that, as a rule, the imposition of a curfew by the government alone, without the participation of the legislature, is a violation of the Georgian Constitution. At the same time, the extension of large-scale restrictions on freedom of movement to current / planned demonstrations will exacerbate an already tense political situation.