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Human Rights Day Georgia

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, December 11
International Day of Human Rights was celebrated on December 10.

President of Georgia Giorgi Margvelashvili stressed that human rights are protected by Georgia’s constitution.

“Our history is based on human rights values,” Margvelashvili stated, adding that human rights protection requires efforts from each citizen.

Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili stated that the new government has achieved excellent outcomes regarding human rights during the last year.

“We have proved that human rights is our priority,” Gharibashvili said, noting that the coalition ensured freedom of expression, media, and court, and has taken a serious step in elaborating a human rights strategy through the involvement of all interested sides.

United National Movement (UNM) members speak about selective justice and the pursuit of political opponents on political grounds under the new government. They also stated that police actions in various cases were inadequate. As for the situation in the prisons, the UNM MP Giorgi Kandelaki states that the government “is hiding the truth” concerning the difficult situation in prisons and the active role criminal bosses play there.

Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili believes that 2013 was “less dramatic” with regard to human rights than in previous years. He made a special appeal to the government to create a special body that will investigate presumed crimes committed by law-enforcement and law-enforcement bodies.

The Ombudsman assessed the liberalization of criminal code as a major achievement under the new government of Georgia. He also stressed that the large-scale amnesty was a positive move carried out by the Georgian Dream. However, alongside various positive changes, Nanuashvili stressed that different types of intolerance were revealed concerning various minorities, which were not adequately addressed.

The public defender stated that ethnic minorities are barely involved in public issues, and steps should be undertaken to increase their integration.

The public defender mentioned the May 17 manifestation concerning the day against homophobia, when, according to him, police could not ensure the right of assembly and expression of the people.

The public defender also stated that so called criminal supervisors’ role in prisons remain strong. Minister of Corrections and Legal Assistance, Sozar Subari, responded the section, stating that Nanuashvili’s assessment has no evidence.

The public defender welcomed the destruction of videos showing people’s private lives. However, Nanuashvili said that the “one time” action will not solve the problem. He stated as well that after the amnesty, the government should ensure the restoration of justice and compensation for those who were affected under the former government.

Nanuashvili emphasized that the country still faces significant challenges concerning women and children’s rights.

Head of the Young Lawyers’ Association, Kakha Kozhoridze, shares the vision that human rights are better protected now. However, he admits that problems remain in various state structures, which fail to address problems adequately. Kozhoridze negatively assesses the temporary suspension of the commission working on legal injustices, and suggests the crimes committed by law-enforcement be investigated by the chief-prosecutor’s office.

Expert in human rights Vakhushti Menabde thinks that the situation concerning minorities is not enviable in Georgia, calling the problem systemic.