Thorbjørn Jagland – Georgia is example of fruitful cooperation and experience sharing
Georgian Prime Minister Mamuka Bakhtadze met with Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland within the framework of his working visit in Strasbourg.
Georgia’s new action plan was discussed during the meeting. Thorbjørn Jagland said that it was an honor for him to host Georgian Prime Minister and underlined on the high quality of Georgia-CoE relations.
He said that CoE was publishing a consolidated report about Georgia’s occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia twice a year. “We discussed ways to how to improve accessibility to these regions and continue working on missions targeted at restoration of trust,” Thorbjørn Jagland said.
Secretary General of the Council of Europe said that Georgia was a good example of fruitful cooperation and experience sharing.
Avtandil Otinashvili, Strasbourg
EU supports information campaign in Georgia for EU Sustainable Energy Week 2020
On 22 June, the EU Delegation to Georgia launched the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) campaign. The campaign consists of tips for citizens on saving energy and money, caring about the environment and making their homes more energy efficient.
This year, the EUSEW will run from 22 to 26 June. The event will be held virtually, and the topic will be Beyond the crisis: Clean energy for green recovery and growth.
The EUSEW is the biggest event dedicated to renewables and efficient energy use in Europe. It is organised by the European Commission and brings together public authorities, private companies, non-government organisations and consumers to promote initiatives to save energy and move towards renewables for clean, secure and efficient power.
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Justice systems must help children overcome fear and trauma, not make them worse
Every year, thousands of children across Council of Europe member states are involved in judicial proceedings. Whether a victim of crime or in conflict with the law, they are often vulnerable and in need of protection: in other words, they need justice systems to be “child-friendly”.
Promoting child-friendly restorative justice and exchanging best practices in this area has been one of the priorities of the Georgian Presidency of the Council of Europe.
Today, the Council of Europe has published a set of statements and resources on restorative justice and participation of children in judicial proceedings that were meant to be presented at a high-level conference in Strasbourg cancelled due to the COVID 19 health crisis in Europe.
The crisis and particularly the introduction of broad confinement measures in an effort to save lives were mentioned by Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić in her welcome message. “However, confinement can leave children locked in with their abusers, with little opportunity to raise the alarm”, she warned. “These children must have a place to go with access to professionals who can help them to piece their lives back together”.
The difficulties in accessing justice is not something new, Secretary General Burić underlined. “Victims may experience fear, shame and feel that they are among the least likely groups to be heard or have their views taken into account during judicial processes,” she stated. “Our justice systems must help them to overcome the trauma, not compound it.”
In her statement Thea Tsulukiani, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Justice of Georgia presented the Georgian national experience with restorative justice for children in conflict with law since the launch of reforms several years ago. “Breaking away with the zero-tolerance in the juvenile justice system highlighting criminal sanctions and massive use of detention rather than non-custodial alternatives, prevalent in Georgia before 2012, was the single biggest challenge that we encountered.”
The Juvenile Justice Code adopted in 2015 introduced an entirely new philosophy for children in conflict with the law, where non-custodial measures were made a default and criminal sanction the exception, the Minister said.
“We are making maximum use of diversion and mediation for children and young people under the Code whereby juveniles are dealt with without resorting to judicial proceedings or trial with human rights and legal safeguards respected”, she stated. “It is an encouragement offered to young people in conflict with the law to return to law-abiding life without punishment nor conviction, in exchange for voluntary participation in the programmes tailored to their needs, with the involvement of an independent and neutral person – a mediator,” the Minister explained, stressing that as of 2019, only 9% of juveniles previously involved in diversion/mediation programs committed crime again.
The creation of a Child Referral Mechanism and Referral Centre for juveniles in January 2020, and the introduction of “micro prisons” (family-type establishments), with the first two to be operational by the end of 2021, are examples of the holistic approach to child-friendly justice, Minister Tsulukiani said.
All the documents and statements, including those by Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos, President of the European Court of Human Rights, by Irakli SHOTADZE, General Prosecutor of Georgia, Stefan SCHENNACH, member of the Committee on Social Affairs, Health and Sustainable Development of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Maria-Andriani KOSTOPOULOU, Chair of the Steering Committee for the Rights of the Child of the Council of Europe and Drahoslav ŠTEFÁNEK, Special Representative of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe on Migration and Refugees, can be found on the dedicated page.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, has issued a toolkit for governments across Europe on respecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law during the COVID-19 crisis
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić, has issued a toolkit for governments across Europe on respecting human rights, democracy and the rule of law during the COVID-19 crisis.
The Information Document was sent to all 47 Council of Europe member states yesterday.
The toolkit is designed to help ensure that measures taken by member states during the current crisis remain proportional to the threat posed by the spread of the virus and are limited in time.
The document covers four key areas:
• Derogation from the European Convention on Human Rights in times of emergency
• Respect for the rule of law and democratic principles in times of emergency, including limits on the scope and duration of emergency measures
• Fundamental human rights standards including freedom of expression, privacy and data protection, protection of vulnerable groups from discrimination and the right to education
• Protection from crime and the protection of victims of crime, in particular regarding gender-based violence.
The Information Document also refers to new advice from the Committee of the Parties of the Council of Europe’s MEDICRIME Convention on the counterfeiting of medical products and similar crimes.
Telephone conversation between President of Turkmenistan and UN Secretary General
President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov had a telephone conversation with UN Secretary-General, António Guterres.
Cordially greeting each other, the Turkmen leader and the head of the largest international organization expressed satisfaction with the opportunity to discuss the priority areas of traditional interaction between our country and the UN, as well as exchange views on the most important issues on the international agenda.
At the same time, the role of the neutral status of the Turkmen state as a significant factor in regional security and stability, an effective mechanism for establishing multifaceted cooperation in solving critical tasks of our time, and strengthening friendly, good-neighborly relations between countries and peoples was emphasized. It was stated that Turkmen neutrality in fact had confirmed its compliance with the long-term goals of the world community and the basic principles of the UN Charter.
As emphasized, the United Nations highly appreciated the contribution of our country to the development of constructive international partnership in various fields, fully supported the creative initiatives put forward by President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, as evidenced by a number of Resolutions adopted by the UN General Assembly.
President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized that Turkmenistan appreciated the attention paid by the UN Secretary General to the development of cooperation with our country. “This year is a jubilee year for all of us. The UN will mark its 75th anniversary and Turkmenistan will celebrate the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Resolution “On the Permanent Neutrality of Turkmenistan” by the UN General Assembly”, said the President of Turkmenistan, expressing confidence that these significant dates would be celebrated.
The exchange of views on the status and prospects of bilateral cooperation, including the one carried out through specialized UN structures, with which we have gained solid experience in implementing joint programmes and projects took place during the conversation. In this context, the theme of the coronavirus pandemic that has given rise to concern worldwide was raised.
According to the Turkmen leader, today people all around the world has faced a new, extremely serious challenge that has embraced vast geographical spaces on the planet and changed the everyday life of many states and peoples. In this regard, more than ever, the role of the United Nations as the only universal international structure capable of consolidating the efforts of the entire world community in the fight against the threat is of particular importance.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov emphasized that the UN efforts to maintain stability in the world during this difficult period created an atmosphere of solidarity and served as the basis for coordinated actions of all states.
Under the current conditions, the UN Secretary-General’s appeal for a ceasefire in conflicts around the world to focus on the shared struggle to overcome the virus has gained particular relevance. Turkmenistan, as the state, the neutral status of which is recognized by the United Nations, fully supports this initiative, considering it in a broad context as a call for cohesion between countries, consolidation of their efforts in the fight against the challenges and threats of our time.
In this regard, preventive diplomacy, which today stands as one of the main methods for resolving internationally significant issues, plays an important role. The huge arsenal of political and diplomatic means that the UN uses in the implementation of preventive diplomacy provides a solid basis for resolving complex international problems, preventing conflicts, and eradicating the causes that give rise to them.
Speaking about this, President of Turkmenistan, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov assured that Turkmenistan, as the country that hosts the headquarters of the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia, would continue to actively support the activities of the UNRCCA and contribute in every possible way to the implementation of important regional projects and programmes.
In this regard, the President of Turkmenistan briefly dwelt on the experience of Turkmenistan in joint work with the countries of the region and other neighboring states in combating the spread of infectious diseases at present. In particular, for example, coordinated actions are taken together with Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan to ensure effective sanitary-quarantine measures at the state borders.
In this difficult period, the countries of the region provide each other with mutual humanitarian support. Thus, Turkmenistan sent humanitarian aid to neighboring Iran, continues to carry out active work on the implementation of economic and social projects in Afghanistan. Together with the Uzbek and Kazakh neighbors, a number of measures have been taken to create favorable conditions for the citizens of our states in the neighbouring countries.
Understanding the importance of preventive measures, as well as other actions to respond coronavirus, our country conducts this work on a systematic basis. In this context, the head of state expressed gratitude to the UN Secretary General for his initiative to develop the National Plans to prepare and respond to coronavirus infection.
The Government of Turkmenistan, together with the United Nations Resident Coordinator in our country and UN country agencies, finalizes the National Plan, which will be considered in the very near future.
The President of Turkmenistan expressed belief along with the fight against the pandemic, new forms and methods of work that would allow all states of the world to maintain normal operation of both national financial and economic systems and the global economy should be found. It is necessary to ensure the high level of consolidation in the international community, to develop and introduce new models of interaction between countries, regions and continents.
According to President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov, in this process, the United Nations should play a key, coordinating role. Turkmenistan is ready to provide its experience and opportunities for solving the problems on restoring the global economy under the auspices of the UN.
Understanding that transport is one of the most important elements of world economic relations, our country that initiated three resolutions of the UN General Assembly on this issue, has suggested to consider the possibility of creating new international legal mechanisms aimed at ensuring the stable functioning of international transport and transit corridors in emergency situations.
In this regard, the Turkmen leader proposed to initiate a wide multilateral dialogue on transport issues with the participation of all United Nations Member States, specialized international structures, world financial institutions and other interested parties. The main result of such a dialogue could be a Resolution or another document of the UN General Assembly on transport communications under recessional conditions.
“Today, the successful implementation of all the tasks set is impossible without expanding international relations, and the United Nations plays a special role in this area”, President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov said.
Expressing belief that during this difficult period we will be able to overcome difficulties with dignity and honor and further strengthen traditional cooperation, the President of Turkmenistan emphasized that Turkmenistan would support the UN activities, and reaffirmed the willingness of our country to further strengthen relations with the UN.
The intention of the parties to build up partnership, distinguished by growing dynamics, purposefulness and specificity was underlined.
Thanking the Turkmen leader for providing all possible support to ensure cooperation with the UN and its specialized structures, Mr. António Guterres emphasized that Turkmenistan had proved itself as an exceptionally reliable and responsible partner of the United Nations.
At the end of the telephone conversation, President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and UN Secretary General António Guterres wished each other health and success, and expressed confidence in the further dynamic development of constructive bilateral cooperation, built on a long-term, systematic basis and in the interests of global peace, prosperity and progress.
The telephone conversation took place on the initiative of the UN Secretary General.
The state news agency of Turkmenistan
Presidents of EBRD and ADB Confirm Readiness To Help Georgia Return to High Rate of Economic Development in Video Conference With Giorgi Gakharia
Prime Minister of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia held a video conference with the presidents of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) regarding the possible assistance and financial resources to be allocated to Georgia due to the challenges associated with the global pandemic.
Economic problems caused by the global spread of COVID-19 were emphasized during the video conference. Funding allocated by EBRD and ADB to the Georgian private sector, Georgian banks, and other business entities was noted in particular.
The sides also discussed post-crisis measures and the assistance that Georgia might receive from the financial institutions, which would enable the government to continue the state funding programs that are being implemented today to support citizens and private businesses.
It was noted that the government team is actively working with the local representatives, as well as the head offices of both EBRD and ADB to jointly develop a package of measures that will focus on overcoming the ongoing challenges.
According to the assessment of the presidents of the financial institutions, the fact that Georgia is successfully coping with the crisis constitutes sufficient grounds to say that the country will very quickly regain the rate and positions of economic development that it possessed at the beginning of 2020. Suma Chakrabarti and Masatsugu Asakawa confirmed their readiness to actively support Georgia in this area.
The Georgian side stressed that EBRD and ADB are very strong and serious partners for Georgia. It was noted that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank have financed extremely important projects worth hundreds of millions of dollars in Georgia, including in the area of infrastructure. It was noted that all major systemic infrastructural projects funded by them are still in the active phase of implementation today, despite the ongoing crisis.
The head of government thanked EBRD and ADB for their active cooperation and their support of Georgia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure Maia Tskitishvili and Minister of Finance Ivane Machavariani participated in the video conference.