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Georgian Ambulance crew accused of ethnic discrimination

30 July 2021

An ambulance crew in Georgia has been accused of making discriminatory remarks by members of the Salam rights group after being called to the group’s office.

Members of Salam, who advocate for the equal treatment for ethnic minorities in Georgia, called an ambulance to their office in Tbilisi on Wednesday after one of their members fell ill.

Salam co-founder Kamran Mammadli, a Georgian citizen who is ethnic Azerbaijani, told OC Media that after an argument, one of the doctors told them that ‘when you go back to your own country, then you can be so demanding on doctors.’ 

‘They treated the patient calmly and gave instructions as well. But then one of the doctors asked us where we were from, to which I replied that this was the wrong question and that we were Georgian citizens’, Mammadli said.

Mammadli said that the problems started as soon as the ambulance arrived.

‘The ambulance crew was more than an hour late. There were two female doctors in the crew, and they were aggressive from the beginning. They couldn't find the office at first and when they met one of the members of our organisation, they started shouting, “Why didn’t you meet us?”,’ Mammadli said.

Mammadli said they refused to provide a record of their examination and also refused to give their names when asked.

‘We know Georgian well, we work in Tbilisi, and the situation is curious when members of an [ethnic minority] rights organisation find themselves in this kind of situation. Imagine the harsh reality in the regions where people may not even know the language or don’t know enough about their rights.’

Mammadli said that they had contacted the management of the emergency services ‘to hold this person accountable or to apologise publicly, or for the agency itself to apologise to ethnic minorities in order to prevent further incidents.’

The Center for Emergency Coordination and Emergency Assistance told OC Media that they had launched an internal investigation, but declined to comment further on the incident.

The Public Defender’s Office told OC Media they were investigating the incident. 

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