Zviad Devdariani Withdraws Candidacy Following Sexual Harassment Accusation by Women’s Movement

The Executive Director of a prominent Georgian, non-governmental firm and an open supporter of women’s rights was accused of sexually harassing women both, for job with the firm and while at work. The allegations were raised by a women’s movement after almost ten women accused the executive director of CiAD, Zviad Devdariani, of sexually harassing and assaulting them.

CiDA, for approximately 16 years, has been an open advocate of human rights ensuring socio-economic rights of various national and regional groups. The news of the women’s movement accusing Zviad surfaced media just days after the Executive Director of CiDA was elected by the respectable Board of Organization. Devdariani was nominated for a place on the Georgian Public Broadcaster’s Board of Trustees.

Two women out of the ten complainants came forward with their stories and narrated it to a journalist. The identities of the women have been kept anonymous for security and privacy reasons. However, the interviewing journalist is aware of the identities of both the women and have personally met them to hear their stories about the harassment faced for getting the job and while at work in the firm, respectively.

Zviad Devdariani received the news of the sexual harassment allegation against him right after being nominated by the Public Defender, Nino Lomjaria, for a spot on the Board of Trustees of Public Broadcaster. However, fearing the safety and reputation of his family and himself, Zviad withdrew his candidacy and stated the following in response, “During the whole night, my family and organization personnel were pressured and blackmailed which was continued today by the statement made by the Women’s Movement, which damages my reputation, destroys my family, threatens the Public Defender and the entire civil sector.” He added in his address, “Given the fact that I received a direct message from women`s groups to withdraw my candidacy, otherwise an open letter would be released, I believe that this is a targeted blackmail,”.

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