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Public Defender Sums up 2018 Year

By Tea Mariamidze
Monday, December 10
Georgia’s Public Defender, Nino Lomjaria has summed up 2018 year in her report, presented at the press conference on December 7.

Lomjaria mainly underlined the so-called Khorava Street case which, according to her, has not been properly investigated or some serious shortcomings were revealed during the process.

One of such cases is 19-year old Temirlan Machalikashvili case, who received a head wound during a special anti-terrorist operation in the Pankisi Gorge on 26 December 2017. The young man died after several days in a hospital.

Georgian law-enforcers claim that Machalikashvili was shot when he tried to detonate a grenade. However, the family and relatives say that he was sleeping when law-enforcers shot him without warning.

Lomjaria stressed she was not given access to the case materials after her several requests.

Ombudsman also assessed the situation in the country in terms of assembly and manifestation. She said one of the major violations was the ban on tents for Temirlan Machalikashvoli’s father Malkhaz Machalikashvili and also Zaza Saralidze, whose son was stabbed to death in Khorava street brawl in December 2017.

“I once again call on law enforcement agencies and other responsible structures not to interfere with artificial arguments with rally participants in realizing of freedom of assembly," Lomjaria says.

However, she underlined that this year the right to assembly and manifestation was mainly protected in the country.

According to the Ombudsman's Office, the most vulnerable groups in 2018 are LGBT community representatives, women and persons with disabilities.

“Although funding for the needs of disabled people in 2018 has increased, this amount is not enough. There is the lowest employment rate for disabled people in the country and inclusive education still remains a problem,” she stated.

Public Defender added the appeal regarding sexual harassment has increased compared to the previous years.

In the statement of Lomjaria, which deals with human rights in the country in 2018, the presidential elections were also included. According to her, the election campaign was underway on the background of the use of hate speech which aggravated for the second round.

As for labor rights, the Ombudsman stressed that in 2018, in Georgia 77 were injured and 35 people died while performing labor duties. Due to the difficult situation in terms of labor security, the Public Defender calls on the Parliament to adopt the Law on Labor Safety.

According to the data of 11 months of 2018, 7,300 applications were submitted to the Public Defender's Office of Georgia. Most of them apply to the criminal justice issues, however, there are increased complaints about the facts of violation of children’s rights.

The Ombudsman will present 2018 report to parliament in March 2019.