Turkish donation will help armed forces carry out their assigned tasks, say Georgian defense officials
Turkey has made a donation of military equipment to the army of its northeastern neighbor Georgia, military officials announced on Sunday.
The Turkish donations included laser rangefinders and various engineering equipment for various purposes, a Georgian Defense Ministry statement said.
A ceremony attended by senior Turkish and Georgian military officials marked the donation of the valuable equipment, it added.
Underlining the close and successful defense cooperation between Turkey and Georgia, the statement said: “The donated equipment will be assigned to various combat and engineering regiments and will facilitate them carrying out their assigned tasks.”
The move follows Turkey’s donation last November of 36 buses, 12 armored earthmovers, and various other equipment to the Georgian Army.
Writing by Ahmet Gencturk
Strasbourg, 24.01.2021 - The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will hold its 2021 winter plenary session from January 25 to 28 in a hybrid manner, allowing members to participate remotely or attend in person in Strasbourg.
The Assembly will debate the ethical, legal and practical considerations of COVID-19 vaccines. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus will address parliamentarians in the debate.
There have been requests for three urgent debates on:
- "The arrest and detention of Alexei Navalny in January 2021"
- "The worsening situation in Belarus"
- "Freedom of expression (Article 10 of the ECHR) under threat by 'Big Tech' Companies".
Three current affairs debate requests have also been submitted under the titles:
- "Prohibition of Russian and other national minorities languages in Ukraine"
- “Unjustifiable delay in repatriation of the Armenian prisoners of war and other captives by Azerbaijani authorities as violation of the European International Human Rights Standards”
- “The actual human rights situation in temporary occupied Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol during Covid-19 pandemics”.
Other topics on the agenda include ethnic profiling in Europe, restrictions on NGO activities in Council of Europe member States, and discrimination against persons dealing with chronic and long-term illnesses.
During the session, the Assembly will elect the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the Secretary General of the Assembly and the judges to the European Court of Human Rights in respect of Greece and Switzerland. These elections will be held by individual electronic voting.
The European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders will address the members of the Assembly and answer their questions, as will the Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, Heiko Maas (within the framework of the German presidency of the Committee of Ministers) and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Marija Pejčinović Burić (who will present her communication).
Debates will also be held on the independence of judges in Poland and in the Republic of Moldova (with the participation of Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, former Federal Minister of Justice of Germany), and on the implementation of judgments of the European Court of Human Rights. Debates on the progress of the Assembly’s monitoring procedure and on post-monitoring dialogue with Montenegro are foreseen.
A report on parliamentary elections in Georgia will also be discussed. Lastly, the Assembly will determine its position on the modification of the Assembly’s Rules of Procedure – follow-up to Resolution 2319 (2020) on the complementary joint procedure between the Committee of Ministers and the Parliamentary Assembly in response to a serious violation by a member State of its statutory obligations.
In the state-to-state case of Georgia v. Russia on the 2008 Russia-Georgia War, the Court ruled clearly in favor of Georgia and found Russia responsible for violating multiple articles of the European Convention of Human Rights, including by detaining and torturing individuals, and denying Georgian citizens the right to return to their homes. The court further found the Russian government has not conducted a full or adequate investigation into the events that took place during and after the hostilities.
The Court’s ruling adds further weight to the international community’s demand that Russia cease its blatant violations of Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. Russia’s attempts to control and exploit the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia through borderization, arbitrary detentions, restrictions of movement across the administrative boundary lines, and establishment of socio-economic and military “agreements” between Russia and the two Georgian regions are particularly concerning and unacceptable. These actions threaten the lives, culture, and personal freedoms of people living in these Georgian territories, and deny them the ability to exercise rights and access opportunities that should be available to all Georgian citizens.
The Court has delivered its judgment in the inter-State case of Georgia v. Russia (II) concerning allegations by the Georgian government that certain administrative practices of the Russian Federation had breached the Convention, in the context of the armed conflict between the two States in August 2008.
In the Court’s view, the events which took place during the active phase of the hostilities (8 to 12 August 2008) did not fall within the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation. However, it held that the Russian Federation had exercised “effective control” over South Ossetia, Abkhazia and the “buffer zone” during the period from 12 August to 10 October 2008, the date of the official withdrawal of the Russian troops. After that period, the strong Russian presence and the South Ossetian and Abkhazian authorities’ dependency on the Russian Federation indicated that there had been continued “effective control” over South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The Court therefore concluded that the events occurring after the cessation of hostilities – that is, following the ceasefire agreement of 12 August 2008 – had fallen within the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation. It found a number of violations of the Convention.
20 января 2021 года начался двухдневный визит представительной азербайджанской делегации во главе с Министром иностранных дел Азербайджанской Республики Джейхуном Азиз оглу Байрамовым в Туркменистан.
На следующий день глава МИД Азербайджана был принят Президентом Туркменистана Гурбангулы Бердымухамедовым.
Затем в здании МИД Туркменистана состоялась встреча Министра иностранных дел Туркменистана Рашида Мередова с Министром иностранных дел Азербайджанской Республики Джейхуном Азиз оглу Байрамовым. Дипломаты с удовлетворением констатировали высокий уровень двусторонних связей в политической, торгово-экономической и культурно-гуманитарной областях.
Было особо отмечено, что данный визит главы МИД Азербайджана в Ашхабад сопряжен с началом нового этапа энергетического сотрудничества между Туркменистаном и Азербайджаном. В этом контексте выделена значимость совместных шагов по ресурсоиспользованию и взаимодействию на Каспии.
Дипломаты выделили эффективность политико-дипломатического диалога между двумя странами. Они обсудили двустороннюю тематику, а также ключевые аспекты региональной и международной повесток дня. В этом контексте подчёркнута значимость сотрудничества Туркменистана и Азербайджана в рамках региональных и международных форматов.
В ходе встречи также обсуждались возможности расширения экономического и инвестиционного сотрудничества, в том числе с задействованием транспортно-транзитного потенциала двух стран, обладающих современной автомобильной, железнодорожной и морской инфраструктурой.
Особо отмечена значимость Соглашения о транзите и транспортном сотрудничестве (Lapis Lazuli) между Туркменистаном, Азербайджанской Республикой, Грузией, Турецкой Республикой и Исламской Республикой Афганистан. Как известно стороны намерены способствовать укреплению потенциала Лазуритового коридора в рамках созданного трёхстороннего межправительственного формата взаимодействия в области транспорта и связи.
Обсуждены вопросы расширения культурно-гуманитарных связей. Отмечено, что народы Туркменистана и Азербайджана связывают прочные исторические, культурные и духовные ценности. Обсуждены возможности проведения совместных мероприятий в рамках текущего года, провозглашенного Международным годом мира и доверия согласно резолюции Генассамблеи ООН, инициированной Туркменистаном.
On the 20th of January 2021, a two-day visit to Turkmenistan of a representative Azerbaijani delegation headed by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Aziz oglu Bayramov has started.
On the following day, the head of the MFA of Azerbaijan was received by the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
Then, the meeting of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Aziz oglu Bayramov was held in the premises of the MFA of Turkmenistan. The diplomats have stated with satisfaction the high level of bilateral ties in political, trade-economic and cultural-humanitarian areas.
It was especially noted that the present visit of the head of MFA of Azerbaijan to Ashgabat complements the start of a new stage of energy cooperation between Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan. In this regard, the significance of joint steps on resource use and collaboration on the Caspian Sea was highlighted.
The diplomats highlighted the efficiency of political-diplomatic dialogue between the two countries. They discussed bilateral issues, as well as the aspects of regional and international agendas. In this regard, the importance of collaboration of Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan in the framework of regional and international formats was underlined.
The possibilities of expanding economic and investment cooperation, including through the use of transport-transit potential of the two countries that possess modern automobile, railway and sea infrastructure were also discussed.
The importance of the Transit and Transport Cooperation Agreement between Turkmenistan, the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, the Republic of Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan (Lapis Lazuli) was also emphasized. As known, the parties intend to facilitate unfolding of the Lapis Lazuli route capabilities in the framework of the trilateral intergovernmental format of collaboration in the area of transport and communication.
The issues of expanding cultural and humanitarian ties were discussed. It is noted that the people of Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan are united by firm historic, cultural and spiritual values. The opportunities of holding joint events within the current year that was declared as the International Year of Peace and Trust by the UN General Assembly upon the initiative of Turkmenistan were discussed.
21 января 2021 года состоялась встреча Президента Туркменистана Гурбангулы Бердымухамедова с Президентом Азербайджанской Республики Ильхамом Алиевым в режиме видеоконференции.
В ходе встречи Президенты подтвердили приверженность развитию дружественных отношений между двумя странами и народами основанных на принципах взаимоуважения и доверия, а также общности исторических, культурных и духовных ценностей.
Главы государств обсудили нынешнее положение и перспективы развития двусторонних связей в политической, торгово-экономической и культурно-гуманитарной областях.
Было отмечено, что важнейшим направлением туркмено-азербайджанского сотрудничества является взаимодействие по Каспию. В этой связи выделена значимость Конвенции о правовом статусе Каспийского моря, подписанной главами пяти прибрежных государств в августе 2018 года. Данный документ стал результатом многостороннего взаимодействия и началом нового этапа сотрудничества на Каспии, в том числе, в энергетической сфере.
Важно также отметить, что в ходе официального визита Президента Туркменистана Гурбангулы Бердымухамедова в Азербайджанскую Республику в августе 2017 года был подписан Меморандум о взаимопонимании между Правительством Туркменистана и Правительством Азербайджанской Республики о дальнейшем развитии сотрудничества в сфере энергетики. Данный документ способствовал продвижению энергетического сотрудничества между двумя странами.
Также обсуждалось сотрудничество в региональных и международных структурах. Президенты отметили, что обе страны выступают за упрочение всеобщего мира, стабильности и безопасности.
Президент Гурбангулы Бердымухамедов выразил признательность главе Азербайджана за поддержку ряда международных инициатив Туркменистана, нацеленных на укрепление международного мира и стабильности, а также подчеркнул результативность председательствования Азербайджанской Республики в Движении Неприсоединения. Подтверждена позиция Туркменистана в деле формирования глобальной системы энергетической безопасности, основанной на справедливых и прозрачных принципах, равноправном доступе к источникам энергии, которая была озвучена туркменской стороной на Саммите Движения Неприсоединения в октябре 2019 года.
Главы государств выразили приверженность дальнейшему укреплению туркмено-азербайджанских связей во благо двух стран и народов.
На встрече также присутствовали Министр иностранных дел Туркменистана Рашид Мередов и Министр иностранных дел Азербайджанской Республики Джейхун Азиз оглу Байрамов. По итогам переговоров глав государств, руководители внешнеполитических ведомств подписали Меморандум о взаимопонимании между Правительством Туркменистана и Правительством Азербайджанской Республики о совместной разведке, разработке и освоении углеводородного месторождения «Достлук» в Каспийском море.
«Этот документ стал результатом проведенной нашими странами большой многолетней работы, нацеленной на упрочение сотрудничества и взаимопонимания в энергетической сфере, раскрытие огромного обоюдного потенциала двух крупнейших энергетических держав, создание в регионе Каспийского моря самых благоприятных условий для развития устойчивой энергетики, широкого и взаимовыгодного международного партнерства» - сказал Президент Гурбангулы Бердымухамедов.
Президенты поздравили друга друга с подписанием исторически важного документа, призванного расширить партнёрство двух государств в области энергетики. Президент Гурбангулы Бердымухамедов подчеркнул, что решение назвать данное углеводородное месторождение на Каспии - «Достлук» - было обоюдным решением. «Достлук» в переводе с туркменского и азербайджанского языков означает – дружба.
On the 21st of January 2021, a meeting was held between President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov and President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev via videoconferencing.
During the meeting, the Presidents reiterated commitment to the development of friendly relations between the two countries and peoples based on the principles of mutual respect and trust, as well as the community of historical, cultural and spiritual values.
The heads of state discussed the current standing and perspectives of the development of bilateral ties in political, trade-economic and cultural-humanitarian spheres.
It was stated that the most important components of Turkmen-Azerbaijani cooperation is the collaboration on the Caspian Sea. In this regard, the significance of the Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea signed by the heads of five coastal states in August 2018 was noted. This document was a result of multilateral cooperation and the beginning of a new stage of collaboration in the Caspian, including the energy sphere.
It is also worthwhile to note that during the official visit of the President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov to the Republic of Azerbaijan in August 2017, the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Turkmenistan and the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan on further development of cooperation in the area of energy was signed. This document has contributed to the advancement of the energy cooperation between the two countries.
Also, the cooperation in the regional and international structures was discussed. The Presidents noted that both countries stand for strengthening of universal peace, stability and security.
President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov expressed gratitude to the head of Azerbaijan for support of a number of international initiatives of Turkmenistan aimed at strengthening of international peace and stability, as well as underlined the efficiency of the Chairmanship of the Republic of Azerbaijan in the Non-Aligned Movement. The standpoint of Turkmenistan in the process of forming the global system of energy security based on fair and transparent principles, equal access to the energy resources that was voiced by the Turkmen side at the Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement in October 2019 was reconfirmed.
The heads of state expressed adherence to further strengthening of Turkmen-Azerbaijani ties for the sake of two countries and peoples.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan Rashid Meredov and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Azerbaijan Jeyhun Aziz oglu Bayramov were also present at the meeting. Upon the outcomes of the negotiations held between the heads of state, the foreign ministers signed the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of Turkmenistan and the Government of the Republic of Azerbaijan on joint exploration, development and completion of the hydrocarbon field “Dostluk” in the Caspian Sea.
“This document is an outcome of multiyear work carried out by our countries which is aimed at strengthening of cooperation and mutual understanding in the energy sphere, unfolding grand mutual potential of two greatest energy powers, establishing in the region of the Caspian Sea the most favorable conditions for the development of stable energy, wide and mutually beneficial international partnership,” said President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov.
The Presidents congratulated each other on signing of the milestone document which is aimed at the expansion of partnership of two states in the area of energy. President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov noted that the decision to name this hydrocarbon field in the Caspian as “Dostluk” was a reciprocal resolution. “Dostluk” means friendship in Turkmen and Azerbaijani languages.
Georgian Public Defender's Nino Lomjaria Special Statement on Situation in Penitentiary Establishments:
In 2020, the Public Defender of Georgia published a special report, in which we talked about the fact that the management model of semi-open establishments was based on informal hierarchy of prisoners, where the so-called "prison watchers" provide fictitious order, which aims to silence prisoners and prevent them from talking about their problems.
The publication of this report was followed by public attacks on the Public Defender and illegal actions by the Minister of Justice and the Penitentiary Service, as a result of which, it has become not only difficult but also dangerous for the representatives of the Public Defender's Office to carry out visits and monitoring at the penitentiary establishments. In particular, in recent months, a certain group of prisoners managed by the administration of the establishments and the so-called ‘prison watchers’ have been systematically carrying out verbal attacks, threats and aggression against representatives of the Public Defender's Office.
The purpose of these illegal actions was to hamper our communication with prisoners and monitoring of the prison area. Similar cases occurred:
- On October 31, 2020, and then again, on January 14, 2021, in Ksani Establishment No. 15, when a specific group of prisoners did not allow representatives of the Public Defender to observe the realization of the right to vote or to interview the doctor of the facility. This is particularly troubling in the light of the fact that one of the inmates of Establishment No. 15 died of complications of COVID-19 a few days ago and family members of several inmates have asked us to visit inmates.
- On December 4, 2020 and January 13, 2021, in Gldani Establishment No. 8, when one and the same prisoner threatened representatives of the Public Defender's Office and requested that they stop their visit. Establishment No. 8 is a closed facility and it is noteworthy that the above-mentioned prisoner always moves around a specific area of the prison when our representatives visit the facility.
- On January 13, 2021, in Rustavi Establishment No. 17, when a specific group of prisoners behaved aggressively towards representatives of the Public Defender and requested that they stop the visit as "everything was fine" in prison.
Given the fact that representatives of the Public Defender, during their visits to prisons, face real threats from “informal governors” supported by prison administrations, the Public Defender is considering the possibility of conducting preventive monitoring visits only under additional security measures, which would naturally impede the protection of prisoners' rights effectively. Naturally, the Office will continue to hold individual meetings with prisoners.
It is the result of the influence of the so-called criminal subculture that even though about half of prisoners serve their sentences in semi-open facilities (Nos. 14, 15 and 17), unfortunately, the number of applications received from these facilities decreases year by year. In particular, out of a total of 1 384 applications received in 2020, only 57 were sent by inmates of these three prisons. The above proves the fact that, unfortunately, a number of problems encountered by prisoners cannot reach us and remain unheard due to the so-called prison subculture. Therefore, it is important for us to work proactively in semi-open facilities:
Given the existing situation, we call on:
- The Government of Georgia to take immediate measures to change the model of managing the criminal subculture in prisons;
- The Minister of Justice of Georgia to immediately raise the issue of liability of the Director General of the Penitentiary Service, as well as directors of the relevant penitentiary establishments;
- The Parliament of Georgia to study the illegal model of management of semi-open establishments, by using parliamentary oversight mechanisms, in order to enable all prisoners to address the relevant agency or organization relating to their problems and rights violations;
- The Prosecutor's Office of Georgia to launch an investigation into the cases of obstruction and threats against the Public Defender, in connection with which a proposal has already been submitted to the Prosecutor's Office.
In addition to the above, the Public Defender will provide information to the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) and the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture (CPT) to visit Georgia to protect the prisoners’ rights.
At the same time, we would like to address Georgia's international partner countries and donor organizations that provide financial assistance to the Special Penitentiary Service - given the scale of the influence of the criminal subculture, involvement of the administration in this process and human rights abuses, it is important that the donor support be spent on substantially improving and rehabilitating this system rather than strengthening the existing vicious management model.
An inter-continental online peace conference will be held on January 24th, 2021, in attendance with about 2,000 participants from 17 countries, including the Philippines, India, Australia, and South Korea.
The host of this conference is a Korea-based international peace NGO, Heavenly Culture, World Peace, Restoration of Light (HWPL) affiliated with the UN DGC and the UN ECOSOC.
This virtual peace conference is organized in commemoration of the 7th Anniversary of the January 24th HWPL Peace Day which was designated by the Province of Maguindanao in the Philippines to celebrate the peace agreement in Mindanao on January 24th in 2014.
The agreement was suggested by Chairman Man Hee Lee of HWPL and signed by government, religious and civil society leaders to engage in collaboration of peacebuilding efforts to end the decades-long conflict.
Since then, the annual commemorative event such as a grand peace festival, international peace walks, exhibitions of peace in local museums, and inter-faith conferences has taken place to celebrate the peace agreement and raise awareness of peace among citizens in the region.
The event has discussed the history, current issues, and plans for long-term peace in Mindanao as a set of peacebuilding models based on the cooperation of actors in different fields with events that raised awareness of the need for securing sustainable peace.
With the theme of "The Role of Peace Education in Building a Peaceful World”, this year’s celebration, in line with the International Day of Education, aims to establish a global platform for peace educators to implement peace education in the educational system of each country.
Although the event is open online this year due to the COVID-19, more than 2,000 participants, including politicians, religious leaders, social figures, and educators are expected to attend.
The inter-continental conference will include the graduation of peace education students, the peace pledge ceremony, and various addresses regarding the value of peace education.
An official of HWPL said, “Through the 7th Anniversary of the January 24th HWPL Peace Day, we aim to raise awareness of the importance of peace education and culture of peace. It will be an opportunity to revitalize people around the world who are currently experiencing various violence and conflicts, especially since the onset of COVID 19, with a hope and spirit of peace.”
Anyone interested in the event can join by signing up at https://tinyurl.com/HWPLPeaceDayZoomReg until the 23rd of January. The event will be live-streamed through https://www.facebook.com/hwplph/ from 16:00 (KST) on the day of the event.