More than 150 activists, representatives of human rights defending organizations or international and diplomatic corps based in Tbilisi and other regions of Georgia joined the Human Rights Fair Tbilisi on July 16, 2019.

This is already the second year Human Rights House Tbilisi (HRHT) hosts the Fair. The event aims to create a unified communication platform for the regional human rights organizations and activists, strengthening and promoting human rights activism in the regions. Within the framework of the Fair, ten organizations from five regions of Georgia have presented information about themselves and printed visuals to the interested parties.

The Fair of 2019 was unique as it hosted strong and active women advocating for others and fighting against social problems, however, their profile as well as the problems they take on, are not widely known. The role of active women, especially representing the regions or ethnic minority communities, is invaluable as they often face barriers not only as human rights defenders but also as women victims of gender-based discrimination.

Women activists from the regions actively participated in the panel discussions held within the Human Rights Fair Tbilisi. Advocating the rights of women from ethnic and religious minorities and human rights activism in the regions of Georgia were the major topics of parallel panel discussions. The first panel discussion covered the problems faced by women from vulnerable (ethnic and religious minorities) groups. The women representing above-mentioned communities shared their personal experiences and highlighted the importance of education in avoiding abuse. The second discussion was focused on the needs of the human rights defending organizations in regions. This discussion emphasized the importance and revealed the need for creating a communication platform for the human rights activists and the human rights defending organizations based in the regions of Georgia.

Human Rights Fair Tbilisi also hosted the photo exhibition of the participants of a photo contest “Unknown Portraits – Women in Activism” and the award ceremony of the winners. The exhibition featured the portraits of twelve strong and active women to promote their activities and share their problems with a wider public. The portraits united the women who are very active in their own communities – women who fight for the rights of vulnerable groups, represent ethnic or religious minority communities, own small scale enterprises and etc. Two winner photographs and three photographed women were awarded prizes – Photographs received prize money and the photographed women will have the opportunity to implement a project on an issue they are advocating for, with the grant support from Human Rights House Tbilisi.

A new video was also presented within the Fair. The video features the stories of five women and aims at raising awareness about the problems they face. The main highlight of the video is to strengthen other women and show that a problem may be accepted as a challenge and even one initiative – one person can change the whole picture.

Human Rights House Tbilisi annually hots the Fair. This year the Fair was organized by Human Rights House Tbilisi in partnership with IREX Europe, with the financial support from the European Union. The main purpose of the project is to enhance the role of women human rights defenders or those advocating for women/girls’ rights. Various activities are planned within the project to raise awareness about active women or their work and to highlight the problems they face. The project in Georgia is implemented with funding from the Human Rights House Foundation.

About the Organization:

Human Rights House Tbilisi (HRHT) is a membership-based organization and unites five Georgian civil society organizations, working in different fields of Human Rights. The member organizations of HRHT are: the Human Rights Center (HRIDC), Article 42 of the Constitution, Georgian Center for Psychosocial and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT), Sapari and Media Institute. According to the strategy of the Human Rights House Tbilisi, one of the main goals of the HRHT is the protection and empowerment of human rights defenders and human rights organizations, as well as awareness-raising about human rights issues. Based in Tbilisi, it was registered in July 2010 as a non-governmental organization with the support of the Human Rights House Foundation. HRHT became a member of the Human Rights House Network in the same year. The Human Rights House Network defends, empowers and supports human rights defenders and their organizations. Currently, independent human rights organizations work together in 16 human rights houses in 11 countries.