13th South Caucasus Media Conference: Multi-faceted challenges to free media and freedom of expression
July 6-7, in Tbilisi, the Office of the Representative on Freedom of the Media will bring together international experts and journalists, government officials and academics for the 13th OSCE South Caucasus Media Conference.
The participants will discuss fundamental media freedom issues, such as safety and security offline and online, content regulation, and the challenges for new and traditional media.
Special meeting of OSCE Permanent Council held on situation in Nagorno-Karabakh context
VIENNA, 29 September 2020 – A special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council on developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict context was convened at 17:00 local time in Vienna today by Albania’s 2020 OSCE Chairmanship. The meeting was attended by representatives of the OSCE’s 57 participating States.
Opening the meeting, Ambassador Igli Hasani, Chair of the Permanent Council, reiterated the Chairmanship’s alarm at the ongoing clashes and deterioration of the situation on the ground. Dismayed by the rising number of casualties, he repeated the OSCE Chairmanship’s call for an immediate de-escalation and offered condolences to the families and loved ones of those killed and injured.
Briefing the Permanent Council, Personal Representative of the Chairperson-in-Office, Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, said he was receiving information directly from the ground and local interlocutors at the highest level. Ambassador Kasprzyk said he was in constant communication with the sides, and said his team were ready to resume monitoring on the ground as soon as the situation permits.
Representatives of the Minsk Group Co-Chair countries – France, Russian Federation and the United States of America – reiterated the Co-Chairs’ appeal to all sides to cease hostilities immediately and to resume negotiations to find a sustainable resolution to the conflict.
The Albanian OSCE Chairmanship repeated the importance of a negotiated solution and its support for the work of the Minsk Group Co-Chairs and Ambassador Kasprzyk in their efforts to stabilize the situation on the ground.
The Group of Friends of Georgia to OSCE has released a joint statement on the occasion of the 12th anniversary of the Russia-Georgia WarThe Group of Friends of Georgia to OSCE including Bulgaria, Canada, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States of America delivered a joint statement at the OSCE Permanent Council meeting, on 3 September 2020. The statement reads that twelve years since the Russian military invasion of Georgia, we remain deeply concerned over the continued occupation of parts of the territory of Georgia and underlineს the need for the peaceful resolution of the conflict based on full respect for the UN Charter, the Helsinki Final Act and international law. The delegations call upon the Russian Federation to fulfill immediately its clear obligation under the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 ceasefire agreement to withdraw its forces to pre-conflict positions. The members of the Group of Friends are deeply concerned over humanitarian conditions of civilians in conflict-affected areas, human rights abuses, and the increased Russian military exercises and build up in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions. “We are concerned by the intensified provocations by the Russian Federation and the regimes in Sokhumi and Tskhinvali that continued unabated amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. We are particularly concerned over the installation of barbed wire fences and other artificial barriers along the administrative boundary lines (ABLs) of Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions, and the lengthy closure of so-called crossing points in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions along the ABLs. These actions have destabilized the situation on the ground and severely impacted the security, safety, well-being, and humanitarian conditions of civilians in conflict-affected areas, particularly in Akahalgori and Gali districts.” – reads the statement. According to it, Dozens of people died over the past year as they were deprived of the possibility of getting prompt and adequate medical care, due to the closures of the so-called crossing points. The delegations express their deep concern over the shooting and wounding of Georgian citizen Zaza Gakheladze and call for the International Committee of the Red Cross to be provided prompt access to all detainees, and further for immediate release of those under illegal custody. The Group is following closely the case of the death of Georgian citizen Irakli Kvaratskhelia in detention at the Russian Military base in Georgia’s Abkhazia region. The Group also condemns the killing of Georgian citizens Archil Tatunashvili, Giga Otkhozoria, and Davit Basharuli, and urges the Russian Federation, as the state exercising effective control over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, to remove any obstacles to bringing the perpetrators to justice. “In this context, we reiterate our support for Georgia’s preventive steps aimed at eradication of the sense of impunity for crimes committed in its territory under the Russian Federation’s control and note the adoption of the Otkhozoria-Tatunashvili List by the Government of Georgia” – reads the statement. The delegations welcome Georgia’s compliance with the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 ceasefire agreement and Georgia’s unilateral commitment not to use force, and call on the Russian Federation to reciprocate, and to affirm and implement a commitment not to use force against Georgia. They support the Geneva International Discussions (GID) and the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanisms (IPRMs) underlining the necessity of progress within these formats. The OSCE Member States support the peace initiative of the Government of Georgia, ‘A Step to a Better Future’, aimed at improving the humanitarian and socio-economic conditions of people residing in Georgia’s Abkhazia and South Ossetia regions and at fostering confidence building among divided communities to the benefit of all affected people. They welcome the program’s initial successes, including the launch of its education programs and the “Enterprise for a Better Future” grants program, which already registered high interest and engagement of communities on all sides of the administrative boundary lines, as well as the establishment of the Peace Fund for a Better Future, and we look forward to supporting its continued implementation. The Group of Friends of Georgia reaffirmed that “they will continue to raise awareness of the conflict and of developments on the ground, hold Russia accountable for its obligations and commitments, and advocate for the conflict’s peaceful resolution”. Source: https://mfa.gov.ge/News/euto-shi-saqartvelos-megobarta-jgufma-ruset-saqart.aspx?CatID=5&lang=en-US
Giorgi Gakharia: Every citizen of the country should call a doctor and get PCR tested on COVID-19 as soon as feverish or suspecting other respiratory symptoms
Giorgi Gakharia, Prime Minister of Georgia instructed respective institutions to extend the coverage of COVID-19 tests in parallel with re-opening of the economy and on the background of increased epidemic risks. Head of the Government of Georgia held a working meeting today on the topic.
On the background of COVID-19 circulation and restrictions being lifted in the country, greater importance is acquired by the timely detection and treatment of possible cases. Every citizen should immediately call 112 or a family doctor and get PCR tested on COVID-19 if and when gets fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing or other respiratory symptoms.
As of June 11, 2020 the country has identified 6 new cases, out of which 4 are not traceable and thus contain an outright threat. Hence, Government of Georgia and healthcare professionals once again urge the population to strictly adhere to the pre-defined measures.
Gradual lifting of restrictions and resumption of the economy should not serve as a basis of lessening the effort or lead to an illusion that a virus has been defeated. Examples of various countries have been discussed at the working meeting, which have had repeated epidemic outbreaks. Significance of joint efforts and high degree of responsibility has been underlined in the process of tackling the global pandemic.
Prime Minister of Georgia and management officials of the National Centre for Disease Control and Public Health (NCDC) discussed the current stance at Fever Centers and inbound calls to 112, along with the resources required for the greater extension of testing practices. It was noted that as of today 18 labs in Georgia perform the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and this number will increase to 24 in July 2020. Average daily number of tests performed in the country is around 1500, which is expected to increase to 4500 in the nearest future. By autumn daily indicator of tests will reach 6000-8000. Along with possible cases, tests at present will be performed among some number of groups, which will be defined in the nearest future under the Government Resolution. In line with the instructions issued by the Head of Government of Georgia, stock of test kits will be periodically increased. NCDC is also replenishing its material-technical base.
Press Service of the Government Administration
UNDP, UK Government train Georgian police in human-centred and disability-sensitive service delivery
UNDP and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia signed a Memorandum of Understanding that aims to make the Patrol Police Unified Service Center more customer-focused
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia have joined hands to improve capacities and service delivery at the Ministry’s Patrol Police Unified Service Center, formerly known as Room #12.
UNDP Head Louisa Vinton and Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Kakha Sabanadze signed a Memorandum of Understanding at an online meeting today.
“The Ministry of Internal Affairs is reforming its Unified Service Centre, aiming to provide high-quality one-stop-shop services to the citizens,” Sabanadze said. “Personnel training is a critical part of this reform.”
“Police work is full of stress, especially at a time of crisis like the one we are now facing,” Vinton said. “Our training is designed to equip the Unified Service Center staff with the tools and approaches they need to serve citizens effectively, especially those who are vulnerable or have special needs.”
Launched in 2018, the Unified Service Centre of the Patrol Police provides over 50 services to citizens, most of them associated with driving penalties, suspension of driving licenses, delivery of found number plates and consent to transportation of vehicles transferred to special parking lots. With UNDP support, the Centre staff will be trained in customer relations and communication, anger management and disability-sensitive service delivery.
In addition, UNDP will help the Unified Service Centre introduce a Common Assessment Framework (CAF), a total quality management instrument for the public sector that has been successfully applied by more than 4,500 public agencies in the EU Member States.
The Public Service Hall was the first public institution in Georgia to pilot the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) in 2019. UNDP is supporting the introduction of this successful practice for Georgia’s other public agencies.
UNDP’s assistance to the Ministry of Internal Affairs is part of the USD 6 million (GBP 4.5 million) UK-funded support to the Public Administration Reform in Georgia, covering three major directions of the reform: policy development, civil service reform and public service delivery.
The U.S. Government is proud to announce an additional $600,000 in emergency health assistance to support Georgia's response to COVID-19
The U.S. Government is proud to announce an additional $600,000 in emergency health assistance to support Georgia's response to COVID-19. With this new assistance, the U.S. Government, through USAID, has committed $1.7 million in emergency health assistance to support Georgia’s efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and to help the individuals and communities who are most at risk.
The $1.7 million in emergency health assistance from USAID will help control and prevent infection and identify cases of the virus. It will include technical assistance to improve Georgia’s response and preparedness for controlling the outbreak, and for communicating information about the emergency.
The new assistance is part of a whole-of-government approach by the U.S. Government. It comes in addition to other health sector assistance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), USAID support for Georgia's economic recovery and effective provision of public services, and the nearly $140 million the U.S. has invested over the past 20 years in helping Georgia build a capable, resilient, and professional national healthcare system.
We are proud to partner with the Government of Georgia, local health professionals and civil society organizations, and international organizations to help people stay healthy and stay safe.