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Report of the Public Defender at the session of Human Rights Committee of Parliament


Nino Tsotsoria

Today, Public Defender presented a report about “State of Human Rights  and Basic Freedoms in Georgia in 2014” at the session of Human Rights Committee of the Parliament. Representatives of state agencies and parliamentary secretaries also attended the hearing. 

Public Defender highlighted several areas of the annual report. In his annual Report on Human Rights and Basic Freedoms he positively evaluates the measures taken to eradicate problems of the penitentiary facilities. Investigation into torture and ill-treatment facts of prisoners are still underway, except some of the cases, the result on the thousands of systemic offences has not come up yet. 

According to Ucha Nanuashvili, despite the measures taken for the increased independence of the judiciary, there are still many challenges to overcome in order to raise the trust towards courts. According to the 2014 report , Public Defender appealed to High Council of Justice for several times to start the disciplinary procedures against judges who violated procedural norms during the trials. High Council of Justice each time responded with the banal responses saying the judges did not commit any violations. 

According to Ucha Nanuashvili, the most of demonstrations in 2014 were held without any excesses. But there were cases when the state could not ensure protection of demonstrators in compliance with the constitutional rights on peaceful demonstration.
The rule of temporary questioning of witnesses is problematic, which the Parliament left in force even though the main positive point of the enacting Code of Criminal Procedure is to question witnesses only in courts. Measures taken by the state after the large-scale amnesty are dissatisfactory according to the public defender. It is mentioned in the public defender’s report that the legal mechanism, which allows the interested parties to review the enacted lawful decisions, is still not established.
Ucha Nanuashvili paid attention to the facts of ill-treatment by law enforcement officials. A lot of citizens appealed to the ombudsman with related complaints.  The monitoring revealed that there is a tendency of excessive use of force by police officers during detention. 

Despite positive changes in penitentiary system, the public defender said the death facts of several prisoners were alarming. The number of dead prisoners is 28; 7 out of which probably committed suicide.
According to the report of Public Defender, number of appeals related to ill-treatment increased. Public Defender sent 28 proposals to the Chief Prosecutor’s Office to start investigation into them. 

As mentioned by Ucha Nanuashvili, achievement of gender equality remains problematic in Georgia. The facts of violence against women and domestic violence have an alarming scale. 

According to Ucha Nanuashvili, impact on nature and people’s health caused by the works for minerals extraction in the territory near Sakhdrisi is a big issue. 

According to the report, situation about children’s rights remains alarming in Georgia. Juveniles have to live in inadequate conditions and in extreme poverty. 
According to the report of 2014, homophobic attitude towards LGBT community still remains an issue. Effective investigations into crimes committed on the ground of hate are still not achieved.
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Are there political prisoners in Georgia currently?
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