13:32, Wednesday, 18.07.2018
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Statement of Human Rights Center in Response to Groundless Accusations against the Organization

02.07.2018

 
Human Rights Center is alarmed with irresponsible statements of some representatives of the executive and legislative branches of the Government, who state that HRC disseminated incorrect information about so-called full strip search of female convicts in the penitentiary establishment # 5. 

In this light, it is particularly alarming that female inmates of the penitentiary establishment #5 started hunger-strike with the request to receive apology from HRC because of the information published in the report about the state of female and juvenile prisoners in Georgia.

On June 28, HRC and Public Defender’s Office of Georgia published joint report – “State of Women and Juvenile Prisoners in Georgia”. The report presents the findings of the monitoring, which was implemented by the representatives of HRC and PDO Prevention and Monitoring Department in the period from December 15, 2017 to June 15, 2018. The problems observed as a result of monitoring were summarized and analyzed based on the information, which HRC and PDO obtained in accordance to the well-practiced and trustworthy methodology. 

The report highlights various significant issues, like: delayed medical service and subsequently worsened health conditions, necessity of improving sanitary hygiene conditions, lack of socialization opportunities for foreign women, problems of female inmates in the unit for mothers and children, and more. Full strip search of female convicts is still a significant problem, which was first identified by HRC and PDO in 2015. After long debates, the Government fulfilled the recommendation of the HRC and PDO and installed scanning equipment in the penitentiary establishment #5. Regardless that, nowadays we have the situation that when they are first placed in the establishment, women defendants/convicts undergo full strip search and so-called squats; in addition to that, they go through the scanning equipment. Almost all interviewed inmates spoke about this malicious practice with the representatives of HRC and PDO Prevention and Monitoring Department. 

It is significant problem that, when they first arrive in the penitentiary establishment, women defendants/convicts are not offered to make choice between search methods that contradicts the current legislation and international standards. Representatives of the Ministry of Corrections state that convicts are examined in accordance to the international standards and mention medical examination.  Full examination, which is mentioned in the report, shall be distinguished from the medical examination, which is conducted by a doctor and which, in accordance to current legislation, shall not be conducted in the presence of legal regime and security officers.

HRC doubts that female prisoners, who are on hunger-strike in the penitentiary establishment #5 now, have not read the joint report of the HRC and PDO. They received one-sided and incorrect information, which caused their discontent. Consequently, HRC imposes full responsibility over the possible results of their protest on the administration of the penitentiary establishment and the Ministry of Corrections.

HRC is ready to cooperate with the Ministry of Corrections on the eradication of all problems, which were reflected in the joint report of the HRC and PDO. At the same time, the HRC calls on the Ministry to be open for criticism, respect prisoners’ rights and ensure eradication of the identified problems.

Human Rights Center 

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