Pope Francis meets delegation from Georgia
Pope Francis on Thursday greeted a delegation of faithful from the Apostolic Administration of the Caucuses who were in Rome to thank the Holy Father for his recent Apostolic Visit to Georgia. Pope Francis told the delegation their visit brought him many memories of his trip. “I never thought I would find in Georgia what I saw: The culture, spirituality, a people that praises Jesus Christ as the Savior, because it is a Christian population,” – the Pope said – “It was for me a great joy.”
He said he was also personally impressed by the person of Ilia II of Georgia, saying “I perceived there a man of God.” While acknowledging the problems faced by the small Catholic community, Pope Francis said he thought they would find a way “without forcing the issue, to slowly walk together.”
The Pope concluded by remarking on the different faithful he met, calling the responsibility of the laypeople “a great thing,” and thanking the priests and religious for their work. “Go forward!” – Pope Francis said – “This work is like yeast, to make the thing grow. Thank you very much! And do not forget to pray for me.”
Prime Minister I. Garibashvili meets with Ph. Reeker, Senior Adviser of the US Department of State for Caucasus Negotiations and the Geneva International Discussions
Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili held a meeting with Philip Reeker, Senior Adviser of the US Department of State for Caucasus Negotiations and the Geneva International Discussions.Irakli Garibashvili congratulated Philip Reeker on his appointment to a new position and wished him success in his future endeavors. According to the Prime Minister, Georgia is a reliable partner and loyal ally of the US in the region and beyond. Irakli Garibashvili and Philip Reeker discussed the war in Ukraine and the difficult regional and global security situation. The conversation also touched on the dire state of affairs in Georgia’s occupied territories. Irakli Garibashvili highlighted the critical importance of peaceful conflict resolution. In this context, the significance of the Geneva International Discussions was underlined.Philip Reeker reassured the Prime Minister of the strong support of the United States for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.The conversation also revolved around the agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan, achieved through Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili’s mediation and Philip Reeker’s engagement, as a result of which Azerbaijan released Armenian POWs, while Armenia handed over important maps to Azerbaijan.The issues discussed also included Georgia’s European integration. According to Irakli Garibashvili, the European Council, by granting the European perspective to Georgia, confirmed that Georgia’s future is in the EU, and that Georgia remains committed to its European path.The meeting at the Administration of the Government was attended by US Ambassador to Georgia Kelly Degnan and Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili.Press Service of the Government Administration
Georgia should ensure effective implementation of the anti-discrimination legislation and improve protection of human rights in the fields of labour and the environment
Strasbourg, 15 July 2022 - The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, published today the report following her visit to Georgia in February 2022, with recommendations on combating discrimination against LGBTI people and those belonging to religious minorities, as well as protecting human rights in the fields of labour and the environment.
To ensure that LGBTI people and persons belonging to religious minorities live free from violence and discrimination, the Commissioner calls on the authorities to address the inadequate implementation of legal standards and the persistent deficiencies in combating impunity for hate crimes and incitement to violence, and to remove the discriminatory barriers to the enjoyment of their rights.
The Commissioner notes that LGBTI people remain affected by instances of hate crime and pervasive discrimination in Georgia. She calls on the authorities to step up efforts to combat impunity for human rights violations against them and stresses that raising awareness among the public and training relevant categories of professionals on the importance of their role in promoting equality, dignity and non-discrimination should be a priority. She adds that hate speech against LGBTI people in the public sphere is an issue of concern and that an appropriate response to hate speech, including when voiced by officials, religious and community leaders and media professionals, is needed through an effective use of law enforcement channels and other mechanisms, such as prevention, monitoring, self-regulation, and counter-speech. In light of repeated occurrence of LGBTI people having been denied their right to peaceful assembly, the Commissioner stresses that authorities should adopt comprehensive measures enabling LGBTI people to freely express their views and assemble. Regarding transgender people, the authorities should facilitate legal gender recognition without invasive medical requirements and in a quick, transparent, and accessible manner.
As regards religious minorities, the Commissioner urges the authorities to ensure effective investigation, prosecution, and dissuasive and proportionate sanctioning for hate crimes committed on the grounds of religion and to remove discriminatory barriers in accessing places of worship and in regulating tax and religious property matters. “An open dialogue with all religious communities should be established”, she stated. To support this dialogue, she underlines the need for a meaningful partnership between competent authorities and religious denominations, for changes to the relevant regulations and for continuous training and awareness raising activities targeting officials and the general public. In addition, the Commissioner notes that the authorities should pursue their efforts in eliminating religious biases and stereotyping from school textbooks.
Noting that a decade of deregulation and the abolishment of the labour Inspectorate in 2006 led to a significant deterioration in the protection of labour rights in Georgia, the Commissioner welcomes the recent comprehensive legal and institutional reforms and urges the authorities to close the remaining legislative gaps by establishing a minimum wage compliant with international standards, by ensuring equal access to parental leave, and by developing clear guidelines on the duration and compensation for overtime work. “It is now important to ensure a full implementation of the labour standards, including the anti-discrimination provisions”, she stated. To this end, it is crucial to provide the Labour Inspectorate with sufficient and adequately trained human resources and an appropriate budget. While welcoming recent progress in the reduction of workplace accidents, the Commissioner calls on the authorities to further improve occupational safety at the workplace. She also recommends promoting and supporting diversity and equality at work, including with regard to the integration of persons with disabilities. The Commissioner further recommends that the authorities address the gender pay gap and gender stereotypes in employment, to continuously raise awareness about sexual harassment, ways to report it and available remedies, as well as to take resolute action to address child labour and prevent and combat child trafficking.
As regards human rights and the environment, the Commissioner calls on the authorities to strengthen the implementation of the existing national legal framework, to guarantee public access to information and meaningful and transparent public participation in environmental decision-making processes at various levels of government, as well as to improve air quality and the tracking of air pollution. They should also develop and implement preventive measures to reduce the risk of environmental disasters and to ensure protection of the rights of people displaced by such disasters or owing to climate change. The authorities should also provide a safe and enabling environment for environmental human rights defenders and activists and support their work
- Read the Commissioner's report following her visit to Georgia in February 2022
- Read the comments of the authorities of Georgia on the report
- Watch the report in a nutshell
The Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the so-called presidential elections in the occupied Tskhinvali region
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia refers to the so-called second tour of presidential elections held on 8 May 2022 in Tskhinvali region occupied by the Russian Federation and condemns this illegal action that contradicts the fundamental principles and norms of international law and blatantly violates Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders.
Under the Russian occupation and effective control any so-called elections will not have legal consequences, in the circumstance when hundreds of thousands of IDPs and refugees expelled from their homes as a result of ethnic cleansing of Georgians in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions are still hampered to safe and dignified return home, and fundamental rights and freedoms of people on the ground are blatantly violated. Effective control of the Russian Federation over Georgia’s occupied regions and its responsibility for the violations of human rights on the ground are clearly attested in the Judgment of the European Court of Human Rights of 21 January, 2021.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia calls on the Russian Federation to respect Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and implement its international obligations, inter alia the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia appeals to the international community to duly assess and react on the actions directed against sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia.
MFA of Georgia
Georgia to submit the second part of the EU self-assessment questionnaire to the European Commission by 10 MayGeorgia will submit the second part of the EU self-assessment questionnaire to the European Commission on 10 May, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ilia Darchiashvili said following the meeting of the Georgian government commission on EU integration, chaired by Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili.
"Georgia has completed the second part of the questionnaire and we are going to hand it over to the European Commission by 10 May," the minister is quoted as saying.
As Ilia Darchiashvili noted, the second part of the questionnaire was of technical-sectoral nature, and it took a great deal of efforts to complete it. The Minister thanked the government agencies that took part in the process.
According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, the European Commission’s opinion regarding the document will be the next step on the path of EU integration.
On 2 May, the Prime Minister of Georgia, Irakli Gharibashvili, handed over the first completed part of the EU questionnaire to the EU Ambassador to Georgia, Karl Hartzel.
MFA of Georgia
THE DIASPORA AND CAUCASUS ISSUES COMMITTEE HEARD INFORMATION ON THE IMPLEMENTED AND SCHEDULED PROJECTS
The Committee heard information on the implemented and scheduled projects by Shota Rustaveli National Science Fund of Georgia, introduced by the CEO of the Fund, Jaba Samushia.
The projects of the Fund include the scientific grant competition for the joint researchers with the compatriots abroad – 9 projects have been already funded within this project.
“The key aspect of this project is that our researchers working in the leading Universities abroad keep being connected with the homeland and even share their experience with the Georgian specialists”, - the reporter noted.
Yet another important project is the scientific research competition for the Georgian material and spiritual heritage in Georgia and abroad envisaging the study of the Fereydani dialect. This year, the Fund finances also the study of the Ingiloy dialect. The Fund also works on mobility and conference grants to enhance the links with the Diasporas, it develops a new direction and finances the international conferences, which means that the Georgian subject will be widely discussed at an international level.
The reporter noted that the Fund is engaged in Horizon Europe’s international program allowing the Georgian scientists to gain European financing.
The Chair of the Committee, Beka Odisharia positively estimated the information and offered the financing of some more projects connected to the Diasporas.
“It would be important for the Fund to also finance some projects for certain Diasporas. The Committee will provide any possible aid in this process and your new endeavor shall be extended over Diasporas and thus, be successful”, - he stated.