Urgent debate on the role and mission of the Assembly
Adopting its final agenda at the opening of the 2019 Spring Session, the Assembly decided to hold an urgent debate on the theme “Role and mission of the Parliamentary Assembly: main challenges for the future”. The Assembly holds its session in PACE from 8 to 12 April 2019, with addresses by the Prime Ministers of Armenia and Georgia.
Joint debates will be held on stopping hate speech and acts of hatred in sport - as well as the role of political leaders in combating hate speech - and on strengthening co-operation with the UN and implementation of its Sustainable Development Goals.
Other topics to be discussed include promoting parliaments free of sexism and sexual harassment, the implications for human rights of social media, and a report on balancing the rights of parents, donors and children during the anonymous donation of sperm and oocytes.
The Assembly will also look at so-called “laundromats” and new challenges in combating organised crime and money laundering, and will take a stand on the creation of a new EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights.
The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights will present her annual activity report for 2018 and take questions, while there will be the usual exchange of views with the current head of the Council of Europe’s ministerial body, Finnish Foreign Affairs Minister Timo Soini, and question time with Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland.
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
Teimuraz Janjalia has met with the representatives of the Finnish parliamentary delegation
On 2 May, the Deputy Foreign Minister, Teimuraz Janjalia met with members of the Finnish parliamentary delegation headed by Matthias Martinen, Chairman of the Friendship Group with the Parliament of Georgia.
Highlighting the close, friendly Georgian-Finnish relations based on the common fight for independence and freedom of choice, as well as on the shared European values, the sides welcomed the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. They also noted with satisfaction the close inter-parliamentary ties and fruitful cooperation in the fight against hybrid threats.
The Deputy Minister spoke about the importance of maintaining political dialogue at a regular level. In this context, he emphasized the need to carry out planned high-level visits, to ensure a closer dialogue with European regional formats, including with the Nordic-Baltic Eight.
Reviewing the progress made by Georgia on the path of irreversible integration with the European Union, Teimuraz Janjalia noted Georgia's interest in ensuring deeper economic integration and sectoral cooperation with the European Union, including in the field of renewable energy and the environment.
The Deputy Foreign Minister briefed the Finnish side on Georgia's support for Ukraine, both in the humanitarian field and within international organizations by aligning with a number of resolutions or statements in support of Ukraine. He reaffirmed that Georgia will continue its unwavering support for the brotherly Ukrainian nation. Against the background of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, Teimuraz Janjalia stressed the security challenges facing the region and the creeping occupation and the dire humanitarian situation in the occupied territories of Georgia. He noted the need for the international community’s greater involvement in ensuring lasting peace and stability in the region.
The Finnish MPs, in turn, focused on the ongoing debate on security policy in Finland, including in terms of the country’s possible membership in NATO. They emphasized the importance of ensuring close political dialogue in the light of changes affecting the European security architecture. They noted the importance of European countries’ unanimous position in the face of the Russia-Ukraine war and their strong support for Ukraine.
The Finnish side reaffirmed Finland's unwavering support for Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as for the country's EU integration and the European Reform Agenda.
MFA of Georgia
THE PARLIAMENT OF GEORGIA TO SHARE THE OPEN GOVERNANCE EXPERIENCE WITH MOROCCO
Within the PACE Spring Session, the member of the Parliamentary Delegation, Givi Mikanadze held a meeting with the representatives of the PACE Parliamentary Support Project.
CoE, funded by the EU, implements the project in Morocco facilitating the set-up of the Open Governance Council. The parties discussed the experience of the Georgian Parliament.
G. Mikanadze introduced the main directions concerning the cooperation of the Parliament with the civil society, Parliamentary openness, transparency and civic engagement.
The CoE representatives gave a positive assessment to the experience of the Georgian Parliament and expressed their will to reflect the successful practice of the Georgian Parliament in their survey, as well as to arrange the exchange visits for MPs. The parties agreed on further cooperation and exchange of additional information and organization of the visits.
PACE spring session: the consequences of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine
Strasbourg, 14.04.2022 - A general policy debate on the consequences of the Russian Federation’s aggression against Ukraine will be at the centre of the spring plenary session of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), to be held in hybrid format from 25 to 28 April 2022.
In the context of this aggression, there has also been a request for an urgent debate on ensuring accountability for serious violations of international humanitarian law.
Sergio Mattarella, President of the Italian Republic, is due to address the Assembly at midday on Wednesday, and will answer questions from the parliamentarians.
The Assembly also debates reports on strengthening the strategic partnership between the Council of Europe and the EU, safeguarding and promoting genuine democracy in Europe, and on how to put confiscated criminal assets to good use.
Also on the agenda are reports on combating children’s exposure to pornographic content, on the deinstitutionalisation of persons with disabilities, on preventing excessive and unjustified use of force by law enforcement officers, on tackling discrimination based on social origin, and on the honouring of obligations and commitments by Georgia.
Dunja Mijatović, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, will also present her annual activity report for 2021, and take questions from the parliamentarians. Marija Pejčinović Burić, the Council of Europe Secretary General, holds the usual question time with PACE members.
Benedetto Della Vedova, Undersecretary of State at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, will present the Communication from the Committee of Ministers in the framework of Italy’s Council of Europe Presidency.
The Assembly will decide its final agenda on the first day of the session.
of the PACE
PACE President reacts to reports of civilian killings by Russian forces around Kyiv
Strasbourg, 04.04.2022 – PACE President Tiny Kox has expressed shock and horror at reports of civilian killings by Russian forces withdrawing from Bucha and other towns around Kyiv.
“These horrible crimes need to be thoroughly investigated, and the perpetrators of any war crimes in this terrible war brought to justice,” he said.