Statement by the Spokesperson on the appointments of Supreme Court judges

Published in Justice
Wednesday, 14 July 2021 11:13
The Georgian Parliament endorsed six Supreme Court judges on Monday, despite calls by the European Union to pause and revise the appointment process to bring it in line with European standards. The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) recently expressed concerns over the fairness and equality of the nomination process in its interim report.
The appointments go against key provisions of the 19 April Agreement to pause all ongoing appointments, comply fully with all recommendations made by the Venice Commission, and overall to increase the independence, accountability and quality of the justice system in a broad, inclusive and cross-party reform process.
Revising the selection process of Supreme Court judges in line with Venice Commission recommendations before proceeding with appointments, is also a mutually agreed condition for the disbursement of the second tranche of EU macro-financial assistance to Georgia under its current programme, which could be negatively affected by this step.
The vote is therefore a missed opportunity for the Georgian authorities to prove their commitment to a genuine and comprehensive reform of the judiciary. These developments carry a risk of damaging judicial independence and public trust.
The EU is open to further talks at the highest levels to discuss justice reform and the way ahead following these developments, notably in the context of the 19 April Agreement and decisions regarding EU macro-financial assistance to Georgia.
 

China urges U.S. to reflect on its labor-rights violations

Published in CHINA
Monday, 21 June 2021 18:01

BEIJING, June 21 (Xinhua) -- China urges the United States to stop applying double standards on labor issues and reflect on its own serious violations of labor rights, a Foreign Ministry spokesperson said in a daily news briefing on Monday.

Responding to a query on U.S. remarks at the 109th International Labor Conference, spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that every perpetrator of forced labor and child labor should be held accountable for their actions.

He said that an examination of the U.S. record on labor rights shows that, over the past five years, all 50 U.S. states and Washington D.C. have reported cases of forced labor and human trafficking, with as many as 100,000 people trafficked to the United States from abroad for forced labor every year.

According to statistics from some academic institutions in the United States, at least half a million people in the country have been subjected to modern slavery and forced labor, Zhao said, adding that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security admitted that forced labor is widespread in the United States. The victims include both domestic citizens and foreign citizens from almost every region in the world, including vulnerable groups such as women, children and the disabled.

On child labor rights, the United States is the only country in the world that has not ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), Zhao said. Statistics show that there are about 500,000 child farm-workers in the United States, with many children starting from the age of 8 and working up to 72 hours a week. It is not uncommon to work more than 10 hours a day. Half of the child-labor deaths in the United States came from the agricultural sector. From 2003 to 2016, a total of 237 child laborers died in agricultural accidents in the United States, four times more than in other industries.

He said the International Labor Organization (ILO) has repeatedly expressed concern at the serious accidents experienced by child workers on U.S. farms, and urged the U.S. government to take measures to strengthen supervision and provide detailed statistics on child labor in the agricultural sector.

The United States ratified only 2 of 8 core conventions of the ILO, Zhao said, and relevant international labor union organizations have determined that there are systemic violations of labor rights in the country.

"What the United States should do now is to abandon its moral superiority, stop applying double standards on labor issues, reflect on its own serious violations of labor rights, and take the responsibility for them," he said.

Source: http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2021-06/21/c_1310020002.htm

Georgia: Statement by the Spokesperson on the latest political developments

Published in Politics
Thursday, 25 February 2021 11:10

Following the arrest of Nikanor Melia, Chairperson of the United National Movement - the largest opposition party in Georgia, political polarisation in the country has regrettably further deepened. This polarisation risks undermining Georgia’s democracy. The European Union urges all parties to step up efforts to de-escalate and come together to find common ground.

Starting with those in power, we expect the Government to provide inclusive leadership, putting the interests of the Georgian people first. A fair, independent and accountable judiciary is also paramount. The European Union will remain very attentive to developments in this regard.

It is crucial that the opposition plays a constructive role, including by joining the Parliament, to further consolidate democracy and the rule of law in Georgia, and to help shape the country’s reform path.

Political stability, with all sides avoiding provocative actions and rhetoric, an inclusive parliamentary process, as well as a judicial system that enjoys the trust of the Georgian citizens are prerequisites for Georgia to further deepen its partnership with the EU in line with the Association Agreement.

The European Union stands ready to continue supporting Georgia in this endeavour.

Statement by the Spokesperson of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe

Published in Politics
Monday, 09 March 2020 18:25

/STRASBOURG/ We welcome the political agreement reached yesterday, 8 March, by the majority and opposition in Georgia on the 2020 electoral system, which puts an end to uncertainty that lasted for several months and opens the way to depolarization of the political debate, in the run-up of this year’s elections. Talks were facilitated by representatives of the international community in Georgia including from the European Union, the United States, Germany and the Council of Europe.

We look forward to the adoption in Parliament of the provisions of this agreement, as well as all other necessary changes to the electoral legislation, in line with international recommendations. The Council of Europe including its Venice Commission will continue to offer its assistance to Georgian authorities towards a successful completion of the process.

We commend political parties’ commitment to strive for the highest standards of functioning of Georgia’s judiciary, and protect judicial and electoral processes from inappropriate political interference. This will contribute to upholding the relevant provisions of the European Convention of Human Rights and the Council of Europe standards on electoral matters.

Statement attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General on the Tenth Anniversary of the August 2008 conflict in Georgia

Published in World
Wednesday, 08 August 2018 10:27

On the tenth anniversary of the 2008 conflict in Georgia, the Secretary-General recalls that it is a reminder of the need to resolve this and other protracted conflicts in Europe. This requires increased commitment by the relevant actors, backed by strong political will and a reinvigoration of mediation processes.

The Secretary-General urges all the participants in the Geneva International Discussions to adopt a constructive, forward-looking approach that would allow this indispensable mechanism to fulfill its mandate. All concerned should prioritize progress through appropriate dialogue and refrain from divisive policies and unilateral actions that may adversely impact regional peace and security.

The Secretary-General recalls that while the Geneva International Discussions and the Incident Response and Prevention Mechanism have substantially contributed to strengthening stability in recent years, more should be done on key security and humanitarian issues, including those related to the plight of the many internally displaced persons and refugees. The United Nations will continue to fully support this important mechanism and work with the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) to achieve progress on all issues.

CEC NEWS BRIEFING ON E-DAY PROCEDURES AND VOTER TURNOUT AS OF 12:00 PM

Published in Society
Saturday, 21 October 2017 16:22

At the CEC news briefing Ana Mikeladze, the CEC Spokesperson presented to media information on voter turnout as of 12:00pm.

“Voter turnout according to 3 644 election precincts is 16.5% (567 699 voters). As of 12:00 pm, the highest voter turnout was observed in Racha-Lechkhumi with 27.9%, and the lowest voter turnout in Shida Kartli - 13.9%. The voter turnout in Tbilisi is 14.8%.

For comparison, we would like to inform you that during the 2014 Municipal Elections, voter turnout as of 12:00 pm was 16.6%” –stated Ana Mikeladze.

As for the information about the incoming calls at the CEC Call Center: in total 473 calls have been received from 07:00 am until 12:00 pm in the morning. The majority of the calls referred to the verification of personal data in the unified list of voters.

Ana Mikeladze also presented information to media on minor procedural shortcomings:

“Majoritarian ballot papers were absent at #13 Dusheti election precinct. The other two type ballot papers for mayoral and proportional elections were at the election precinct. District Election Commission made the decision by adopting the relevant ordinance and the majoritarian ballot papers are already delivered to the election precinct. A complaint has been submitted in this respect and the relevant election administration will make the final decision. Flashlight for inking verification was absent at #34 Martvili election precinct and the device has been provided to the commission immediately. At #20 Bolnisi election precinct protocol on withdrawal was drawn up against the representatives of “Press Media” due to hindering the activities of Precinct Election Commission multiple times” – stated Ana Mikeladze.

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