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More people ask for asylum in Georgia, Ombudsman says

By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Wednesday, December 9
Nearly 1,000 foreign citizens are asking for asylum in Georgia based on official date from October 2015, Georgia’s Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili stated on December 7 during presenting a special report at Tbilisi Holiday Inn Hotel.

When presenting the report about Asylum Seekers, Refugees and People with Humanitarian Status before an audience, Nanuashvili emphasised that 1,192 refugees and people with special humanitarian status lived in Georgia.

The Ombudsman stated that the majority of the 1,192 people were citizens of Iraq, Ukraine, Russia and Syria, who mainly fled due to regional conflicts.

After focusing on the advantages offered by the current Georgian legislation in this regard, Nanuahsvili also paid attention to several drawbacks.

A significant number of the Public Defender’s comments concerned the application, registration and appeal terms for asylum seekers.

The Ombudsman said that amendments had been made to several documents concerning immigration in 2015, but this was not sufficient.

According to the changes made to the Administrative Procedures Code of Georgia, the term for appealing against individual administrative-legal acts of the Ministry of Refugees on refusal to grant humanitarian or refugee status has been increased from 10 to 15 days, which the Public Defender’s Office thought was not a reasonable time; the Ombudsman claims that such a short length of time carries a somewhat discriminatory nature and violates the rights of asylum seekers.

“The amendment to the Law on Refugee and Humanitarian Status, according to which the 10-day period for registration of asylum seekers has been canceled, is welcome. This recommendation was included in the Public Defender’s Parliamentary Report of 2014. However, the 6-month period (9-month if extended) for the consideration of applications for granting refugee or humanitarian status - which is quite a long term for asylum seekers who do not have a source of income in a foreign country - has remained unchanged,” Nanuashvili said.

The Ombudsman concluded that the application discussion term should be shrunk while the appealing time should be lengthened to a month.