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The News in Brief

Monday, August 3
President: ‘I Took Oath of Office Before People, Not GD’

President Giorgi Margvelashvili said that the attempts of some politicians from the Georgian Dream (GD) ruling coalition to portray him as being in alliance with the opposition United National Movement (UNM) “damages” GD itself and “strengthens” the opposition party.

“I do not understand why they are doing it,” he said in an interview with the Tbilisi-based Maestro TV on July 31 when responding to a question about GD’s criticism of his decision to veto a highly controversial bill on banking supervision.

Commenting on the Presidential veto of July 31, the co-sponsor of the bill and chair of the parliamentary committee on finance and budget, GD MP Tamaz Mechiauri slammed Margvelashvili and said that President’s decisions are in line with the position of UNM party.

“He plays the part of the President,” MP Mechiauri said. “He was not elected by voters; he was elected by Bidzina Ivanishvili and people voted for him [Margvelashvili] because of Ivanishvili.”

Georgia’s efforts to return Mtskheta to UNESCO World Heritage List

The Georgian Government has declared a freeze on any type of construction and privatisation in Mtskheta, one of the oldest towns of Georgia, until the end of next year so that the town can return to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Country officials said if the organisation’s recommendations were taken into account Mtskheta would "definitely” return to the important list in 2016.

The Government intended to discuss the rules about construction in Mtskheta at the Governmental meeting.

Culture Minister Mikheil Giorgadze said it was "essential” to fulfil the UNESCO recommendations, which aimed to help preserve the ancient town.

"Introducing special regulations was UNESCO’s demand that envisages finalising the general plans for the town development,” he said.

"The plans should be completed through agreement with UNESCO and if we adhere to the recommendations the town will definitely be returned to the World Heritage List.”

The moratorium concerned the town and the nearby landscape, Giorgadze confirmed.

If Georgia adhered to UNESCO’s recommendations, the country’s historical monuments of Mtskheta will be given another chance to return to the UNESCO World Heritage List after being relegated to the List of World Heritage in Danger in 2009.

Ombudsman releases statement on completion of the parliamentary report recommendations

The Ombudsman of Georgia has released a statement regarding completion of the parliamentary report recommendations.

According to the information released, the Georgian Parliament has partially shared the Ombudsman’s recommendations and committed the human rights parliamentary committee to monitoring the process of their fulfillment.

As the statement reads, the Public Defender positively assesses the measures carried out by the human rights committee and expresses hope for continued cooperation with it.

“Unfortunately, some recommendations still remain beyond the Georgian government’s attention, including the ones that need to be immediately acted upon in order to establish high human rights standards,”- the statement reads.

The following recommendations of the Parliament’s decision adopted on August 1, 2014 have not been fulfilled:

Creation of an independent investigative agency to ensure efficient functioning of the investigative system;

Objective, fast, independent and effective investigation of the special operation carried out in Lopota Gorge on August 28, 2012;

Effective and complete investigation of cases related to instances of torture and abuse as well as loss of life in which law enforcers might be complicit;

Fast and effective investigation of alleged crimes committed during the 2008 August War and its aftermath, including the cases of those missing;

Creation of a state agency responsible for ensuring a secure labor environment;

Starting the process of ratification of “Convention of Disabled Persons’ Rights” and “Convention of Protection from Forceful Disappearance” prepared by the UN on December 20, 2006.

According to the statement, the Parliament’s decree does not include the Ombudsman’s recommendations, which are valuable for strengthening of successful governance, democratic values and institutions in Georgia.