Human Rights Center (HRC) is carrying out monitoring and free legal aid for the alleged facts of human rights violations after the State of Emergency declared for the prevention of the spread of the coronavirus and in the post-pandemic period under the project Free Legal Advocacy and Human Rights Monitoring supported by the Embassy of Netherlands in Georgia. The project is being implemented in Tbilisi and five regions of Georgia: Shida Kartli, Kakheti, Kvemo Kartli, Imereti and Samegrelo.
As part of the Project, during the period of August-December 2020, the lawyers of HRC managed to successfully protect the rights of the persons affected by the pandemic in the target regions and in the capital city.
Inadequately increased credit
In August 2020, a retired woman applied to HRC for assistance due to an inappropriately increased credit loan in Liberty Bank after a five-month grace period due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In order to respond to the issue, the lawyer of HRC applied to Liberty Bank and the National Bank of Georgia with a request to remedy the mistake and readjust the loan.
Following the request of HRC, in September 2020, Liberty Bank adjusted the loan to the retired woman and deducted the overpaid amount of GEL 2,000.
Restoration of state compensation for lost salary in the amount of GEL 200
R.M. applied to HRC requesting an assistance. She lost her job due to the coronavirus pandemic and was receiving allowance provided by the State Anti-Crisis Program in the amount of GEL 200 per month.
In August 2020, R.M. was illegally excluded from compensation due to an erroneously paid salary by one of the insurance companies. She immediately returned the erroneously paid amount to the company account, but the company inclined not to send the documentation to the Revenue Service. Despite the repeated attempts, R.M. was unable to restore the unlawfully lost three-month compensation amounting in total to GEL 600, further she lost the right to receive for additional 6 months the allowance under the State Program starting from January 2021.
The HRC lawyer applied both to the employer insurance company, as well as to the Revenue Service and the Social Service Agency and requested that the compensation for which R.M. was eligible to be credited to the person.
The private company left the request of HRC without response, however, after appropriate actions and multiple communications, R.M.'s request was granted and on the account of the beneficiary of HRC was credited three-month allowance in the amount of GEL 600 (six hundred). She was also restored in the right to receive the next 6 months allowance which was the only source of livelihood for the individual having lost her job due to the pandemic.
Deferment of payment of bank obligation
With the help of HRC, the fulfillment of the loan obligation with TBC Bank of an individual living in Gardabani municipality was deferred.
During the so called first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, K.K. used the opportunity to defer a loan from TBC Bank; However, the additional amount accrued due to the deferral became a heavy burden for her.
K.K. is a self-employed person at Lilo fair. During the so-called second wave, due to the severe epidemic situation, and due to the restrictions imposed by the State, the person was restricted from carrying out the only business activity she was engaged in. She could not repay her bank obligations. Following the death of her son, who was in a critical health condition, her financial situation severely deteriorated.
To help the person, HRC appealed to TBC Bank, as well as to the National Bank and the Government of Georgia to deduct from the loan additional amounts accrued to K.K. and to defer the payments until the business activities suspended because of the pandemic would be resumed.
With the help of HRC, the fulfillment of the person's obligations was deferred by TBC Bank until May 2021.
Deferment of payment of bank obligation
With the help of HRC, fulfillment of the loan obligation in the Bank of Georgia has been deferred to L.M., a person living in Bolnisi municipality.
L.M. has a loan obligation with Bank of Georgia, but is unable to repay at this stage, as he has lost a job due to the restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
HRC appealed to Bank of Georgia to defer the obligation due to the epidemic situation and the financial crisis, which was caused by the force majeure situation in the country. Regarding the problem of L.M., HRC informed the Government of Georgia and the National Bank of Georgia, and afterwards Bank of Georgia JSC has deferred the payment of the loan obligations for L.M.
Assistance to minors
T.S. who is a resident of Kutaisi, applied to HRC for legal aid. She is the mother of two minors. According to Ordinance N 505 of the Government of Georgia of August 14, 2020, in order to obtain the allowance of GEL 200 for children under 18, individuals could register themselves on a special portal from August 15, 2020 to December 1, 2020. In accordance with the Ordinance, the social allowance shall be issued following the completion of the application on the electronic portal by one of the parents or legal representatives of the child.
T.M. registered herself on the e-portal of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories of Georgia, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, but managed to register only one minor child. Accordingly, she was paid the allowance of GEL 200 for only one child. She repeatedly appealed to the Social Services Agency about the existing gap but received no response.
With the assistance of a lawyer from HRC, T.M. applied to the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories of Georgia, Labor, Health and Social Affairs, as well as the Ministry of Justice of Georgia and by referring to the relevant legal norms requested to provide a one-time allowance to the legal representative of the minor. As a result of free legal aid by HRC, the beneficiary will receive GEL 200 allowance.
A school student will be able to attend online classes
HRC was approached by G.L. a mother of three minor children for legal aid.
A socially vulnerable family lives in a rented apartment in Kutaisi. G.L. is a single mother and has three minor children.
Due to the epidemiological situation in the country, schools have switched to online education, but children do not have computers, which is why they are unable to attend online classes. The lawyer of HRC addressed the Minister of Education, Science, Culture and Sports of Georgia. Based on the appeal, the Ministry responded and the school repaired with its own resources the damaged computer of one of the children and handed it over to the child.
Families received juvenile compensation
In Senaki and Abasha municipalities of Samegrelo region, with a free legal aid provided by a lawyer from HRC, some of the families were able to register their children on the e-portal of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories of Georgia, Labor, Health and Social Affairs and obtain social allowance of GEL 200 for children under 18 in accordance with Ordinance N505 of the Government of Georgia from August 14, 2020.
N.Ts., a mother of three minor children living in Senaki municipality managed to register only two children from three on the e-portal of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories of Georgia, Labor, Health and Social Affairs and thus received only the corresponding allowance. The same problem was encountered by P.Ts., a resident of Senaki Municipality, who also managed to register only two children on the website and could not receive any allowance for the third child. Both parents repeatedly appealed to Senaki Social Services Agency for help, but no response followed their appeals.
Only one of the two nephews of E.G. a resident of Abasha municipality was able to receive allowance because of a defect in a birth certificate.
The HRC lawyer applied on behalf of the families to the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories of Georgia, Labor, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, and to the State Services Development Agency under the Ministry of Justice of Georgia and requested to remedy the existing defects and to pay the allowance the minors were eligible for. With the help of HRC, all families received their own allowances.
Recognition as a beneficiary of support
HRC was approached with a request for a legal aid by Z.L. whose sister T.L. is a person with disabilities and she was not paid allowance for a disable person for several months, and was in need of a support person.
The lawyer of Kakheti office of HRC drew an application for Z.L. in order her sister to be recognized as a beneficiary of support. Based on the court ruling, a birth certificate of T.L. was also requested from the Ministry of Justice.
One of the parts of the Anti-Crisis Plan was to provide allowances to the target groups, including people with disabilities, in the amount of GEL 100 for 6 months. Accordingly, T.L. was also eligible for such allowance as she was granted the status of a disabled person of the first group.
The lawyer of HRC filed a motion with Gurjaani District Court requesting the court to issue a temporary ruling in terms of Z.L. becoming a supporter to T.L. also in the part of obtaining the allowance.
The motion was fully granted by the court. As a result, the beneficiary received a state allowance in the amount of GEL 600.
A.M., a resident of village Chantliskure of Kvareli municipality, inhabited with ethnic Avars, approached HRC for aid; A.M. was an attorney for Z.M. As for Z.M., she was left without the state allowance of GEL 200 envisaged under the Anti-Crisis Plan.
A citizen of Georgia Z.M. registered herself on the portal when she was 17, but after the registration she turned 18, which is why she was excluded from allowances envisaged for the minors by the Anti-Crisis Plan. Given the existing regulations, a crucial factor is the age of a person at the time of approval of the Plan. Therefore, Z.M. was eligible for the allowance.
In October 2020, the HRC lawyer applied to the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories of Georgia, Labor, Health and Social Affairs and by referring to respective legal grounds, requested the issue of eligibility of Z.M. for the allowance of GEL 200 to be reexamined.
The Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories of Georgia, Labor, Health and Social Affairs granted the request of HRC and by the decision of the Head of the Social Assistance Administration Department of the same Ministry, Z.M. received in November the social allowance of GEL 200 she was eligible for.
Human Rights Center