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Georgian Ombudsman presents report on human rights protection

In 2023, the Georgian Ombudsman presented a report on protecting human rights and freedoms in Georgia to the Committee on Human Rights and Civil Integration of the Parliament of Georgia.

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Georgia: In 2023, the Georgian Ombudsman presented a report on protecting human rights and freedoms in Georgia to the Committee on Human Rights and Civil Integration of the Parliament of Georgia.

The Public Ombudsman briefly presented the report’s main insights, paying particular attention to prominent human rights protection trends requiring an appropriate government response.

During the thematic review of the report, the Public Defender called for the impunity of representatives of the occupation regime directly involved in the murder of Tamaz Ginturi by the occupation regime – David Basharuli, Giga Otkhozoria, Archil Tatunashvili, and Irakli Kvaratskhelia, for which the Russian Federation is responsible. The presumptive fact of killing the Georgian citizen Temur Karbaia was noted here by the occupation forces.

Along with the end of life, the practice of illegal arrests and inappropriate treatment of citizens continues in the occupied territories; the ethnically Georgian population is not allowed to receive education in their native language; and unlawful, e.g…….. The process of barbarization, violations of property, and other rights remains a daily challenge for people living near the occupation line.

Failure to prevent gender-based violence, discipline, protection, and assistance is the result of the horrific intentional murder of 14-year-old Aitaj Shakhmirova. In total, in 2023, there were 24 women murders, and 27 women attempted murders.

In March 2024, the Ministry of Internal Affairs granted the Public Ombudsman’s request to have exclusive access to the investigation materials on the Shaw tragedy. However, we are still waiting for permission to access the case materials.

One of the main problems of the country is child poverty. The number of children registered in the “Unified Database of Socially Vulnerable Families” increased by 5.2% compared to the previous year. Older people also belong to the group, especially for the population.

The Ombudsman spoke in detail about the problems of homeless people, legislative flaws, the absence of a uniform policy, and the inappropriate environment in social housing.

The National Plan for Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities and the Standards for Access to Information and Communication have not yet been approved.

The quality and continuity of inclusive education, as well as the essential participation of persons with disabilities and their organizations in decision-making at different levels, are challenges. Among the obstacles are revealing the facts of violence and responding to them effectively.

In 2023, the challenges related to the benefits of peaceful gatherings, legislative initiatives to restrict the form and content of gatherings, and unproposed and, in some cases, illegal measures aimed at dismantling gatherings were relevant.

In 2024, the majority of administrative detainees suffered physical injuries, indicating that law enforcement officers used more physical force against detainees than last year.

The country’s challenges include the absence of a safe environment for media freedom and journalists and outdated legislation regulating access to information.

It was concerning to initiate the draft laws on “Transparency of Foreign Influence,” which did not comply with the standards of protecting freedom of union and expression and the right to intact personal life. Unfortunately, in 2024, the Georgian Parliament passed a law. Several records must be revised, which can disgrace the law’s addresses.

For years, the overcrowding of penitentiary institutions and individual cases of informal governance has been a challenge; the prolonged, unintentional, and punitive detention of prisoners in de-escalation rooms and solitary confinement cells; the evidence of misconduct, the provision of adequate medical services and the physical environment of prison institutions.

It is necessary to refine the normative base on the mechanism of premature release or replacement of the inappropriate part of the sentence with a lighter type of sentence, as well as the effective functioning of the mechanism of the trial of the punishment for life imprisonment. Patients are still victims of violence in psychiatric institutions. Legal framework and current policies cannot provide patients.

In an environment worthy of treatment and free from compulsions. Instructions and rules for using patient restriction methods still need to be updated.

The state has yet to take any action to improve equality policy or the situation of vulnerable groups; neither policy documents nor legislative regulation have been enhanced.

Eliminating the harmful practices of marriage and engagement in childhood and protecting girls properly remains a problem. Effective implementation of reproductive health and rights and access to services is challenging.

The issue of returning religious debris seized during the Soviet period to their historical owners and describing and evaluating the damage caused and the amount of seized property was not resolved.

The Georgian judicial system still needs to rectify legislative and institutional errors, which are prerequisites for integration into the European Union.

Establishing a minimum hourly wage for people in the medical field is welcome. However, the issue of using the digital platform employees’ labor rights and the obligation of private employers to pay for maternity, maternity, and childcare leave is still open.

While reviewing the activities of the Public Defender’s Office, it should be noted that in 2023, 4849 statements on the facts of human rights violations were received in the office, to which the appropriate legal response was taken. Seventeen thousand five hundred sixty-seven calls were recorded on the hotline.

The Public Defender’s Office has submitted 79 recommendations / advances to government agencies to eliminate rights violations. Ten special reports and three alternative reports were presented to international bodies. Three constitutional lawsuits were prepared, 23 judicial friends’ opinions and three communications were sent to the Council of Europe’s Council of Ministers. Several visits were made to different institutions to identify and monitor violations and challenges.

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