TBILISI, DFWatch — Several non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are voicing their opposition to a candidate for refugee minister in the new government.

Prime Minister candidate Bidzina Ivanishvili, who is leader of the election winner Georgian Dream, earlier presented his list of candidates for ministers, and among them was David Darakhvelidze as proposed new refugee minister.

But NGOs are concerned about statements Darakhvelidze made in Ambrolauri district during the election campaign. The ministerial candidate allegedly engaged in hate speech and racist remarks, as well as aggressive language when dealing with the media.

These remarks are in conflict with European values and the Euro-Atlantic integration course that have been declared as Georgia foreign policy priority, and violate fundamental human rights and freedoms, the groups argue.

In this light, the NGOs ask the prime ministerial candidate to review the nomination of Darakhvelidze and be more careful and principled when selecting candidates for various public offices.

“Public servants in return should act more responsible when making public remarks and refrain from using hate speech and racist remarks,” a statement by the NGOs says.

David Darakhvelidze claimed that the video which was shown by ITV, where the candidate verbally abuses a journalist, was a fabrication.

In the video, Darakhvelidze tells the journalist to leave the premises or he will beat her and throw away her microphone.

Darakhvelidze claims that the words that ITV showed in the video were taken out of context.

“They were not journalists, but the zonders of United National Movement” said David Darakhvelidze, and expressed readiness to meet with NGO representatives. ”I’m still only a candidate, I don’t have my office or cabinet, but if they wish, I can meet them,” he added.

David Darakhvelidze and representatives of 11 non-governmental organizations met on 23 October.

“We wanted to find out how the candidate sees his future activities and if he will use hate speech again,” said Tamar Chugoshvili, head of Georgian Young Lawyer’s Association (GYLA), and added: “We informed him that we will observe his activities attentively”.

The representatives are very glad that the candidate met them.

“David Darakhvelidze gave us a satisfying explanations. We think he was honest. Now we are waiting for the meeting with Bidzina Ivanishvili, where we will talk about this candidate, justice, economy,” said Nazi Janezashvili, executive director of the NGO Article 42 of the Constitution.

The time of the meeting with Bidzina Ivanishvili is still unknown.