On August 14, 2018, the online newspaper Marshallpress published news, entitled "HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH's dangerous appeal to the government that has outraged the society". The article states that Human Rights Watch asks the Georgian government to decriminalize personal use of all drugs and acquisition/possession of a small quantity for personal use. Marshallpress notes that the appeal was followed by negative feedback from the majority of social networks users.
The title of the article by "Marshallpress" is manipulative as it equates HRW's recommendations with a threat, while the international organization calls on the government to focus on effective public health measures.
What is written in Human Rights Watch report?
HRW in its report "Harsh Punishment: The Human Toll of Georgia’s Abusive Drug Policies” reviews the tough approach to drug abuse in Georgia. The report notes that these policies prioritize criminal justice over a public health approach.
According to HRW, the harsh drug policy is not an effective public safety policy; as there is no empirical evidence which could prove that drug possession defendants would go on to commit other violent crimes.
The report clearly shows the damage associated with drug abuse and addiction for the users and their relatives.
In addition, the report emphasizes that HRW does not call on the Georgian government for drug legalization, but instead, urges for more focus on effective public health measures aimed at preventing and addressing drug dependency and reducing the harms associated with it.