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Appeal to the Government of Georgia regarding the Compensations of the Citizens affected under the Conditions of the Coronavirus Pandemic

February 3, 2021
Human Rights Center (HRC) was approached by some citizens who met the criteria of affected persons by the coronavirus epidemic/pandemic as provided for by Ordinance N286 of the Government of Georgia from May 4, 2020 and thus were  eligible from January 2021 to receive  GEL 200 as a state allowance.

According to the citizens and under the available banking documents, it is confirmed that the State had credited the allowances to their bank accounts, but the particular banks set off the funds due to the debts of the beneficiaries.

The State Targeted Program mitigating the Damage caused by Coronavirus (SARS-COV-2) Infection (COVID-19) as approved by Ordinance N 286 of the Government of Georgia from May 4, 2020 provides for the procedure of the payment of the allowances to mitigate the damage due to the spread of the pandemic caused by the new Coronavirus, the group of persons eligible for the allowances and the amount of the allowances. 

 The above Governmental Ordinance clarifies that the allowances paid under the State Program may not be subject to  seizure (in accordance with Article 45(1)(f) of the Law of Georgia on Enforcement Proceedings) and measures to ensure the payment of tax debts under the Tax Code of Georgia (collection order/seizure applied on bank accounts); thus, it is unclear why does the bank set off the debts of the citizens from the amounts of the targeted state allowances.

The objective of the Anti-Crisis Plan of  the  Government  of Georgia was to help the population affected by the pandemic, to alleviate the financial situation, which did not happen particularly in the case of these people.  The allowances paid by the State did not reach the addressees. This fact obviously leads to a sense of injustice as the targeted allowances  provided by the State to the citizens did not turn out to be tangible aid and served to cover the bank liabilities of the citizens affected by the pandemic in the form of loans or overdrafts they have accepted due to the severe social problems.  

HRC believes that within the current situation when the State is still fighting the pandemic, and as a result we have a rather severe socio-economic background, all organizations, including legal entities under private law, must take the social responsibility seriously.
 The Government of Georgia should take all necessary measures to ensure that similar facts are not repeated and that each case is brought under control;
 Particular banking institutions should immediately return the deducted funds to the affected persons.

Human Rights Center