Georgia: EU project delivers anti-fraud training to migrations officers
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
EU and IOM donate fast response boats to Georgia’s coast guard
On 16 June, the European Union and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) donated four modern boats to Georgia’s Coast Guard.
These rapide response boats with a total cost of around 5 million laris will be deployed in Poti and Batumi. They will support the Coast Guard in patrolling coastal waters and conducting effective search and rescue operations, as well as to enhance interdiction capabilities.
The main technical specifications of the boats have been tailored to the needs of the Coast Guard to ensure compatibility with the maritime surveillance equipment and systems already in place in Georgia.
“Safe and secure borders are key for citizens in Georgia, as in any country. Ensuring security of and around the Black Sea – the physical bridge between the EU and Georgia – is a shared priority for both Georgia and the EU,” said Catalin Gherman, from the EU Delegation to Georgia, during the ceremony in Poti.
The boats were donated within the project ‘Support to Integrated Border Management in Georgia’, implemented by the IOM in the framework of the EU’s ‘EU4 Security, Accountability and Fight against Crime in Georgia’ (SAFE) programme.
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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
“This friendship will last longer than the war” – Georgia in support of Ukraine
Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February. For more than two months since then, every single day has begun with the latest news on Ukraine. Along with sad news, people tune in, hoping to catch some better news, or drawing home and inspiration from stories of heroism and solidarity. Indeed, from the very first day, thousands of Georgians have united in support of Ukraine, and ordinary civilians, volunteers and organisations engage in humanitarian activities every day.
On 18 February, five Ukrainian friends had arrived in Georgia for a short stay. On 24 February, they found themselves trapped in Gudauri, unable to go home. Left in a foreign country, they were scrambling for resources to keep going, while desperately worried about their family and friends in Ukraine and the fate of their country.
Some of the friends eventually went to the Ukrainian border in Poland, but Yuliana and Katerina stayed in Georgia.
That was when they met Rusudan Tskhomelidze, who published a post on social media, offering shelter to Ukrainian citizens for free. The search for lodging marked the beginning of a friendship between the young Ukrainians and Rusudan’s family.
“We feel enormous support from the Georgian people” – Yuliana
A sociologist by profession, Yuliana was born and raised in Kyiv. She has a cat who is with her father in Kyiv, and her mother lives near Irpin. Yuliana is in a state of constant worry, but at least she is happy she can regularly communicate with her family.
“As soon as the war started, I created a family chat and I check it once every few hours, to know what is happening,” says Yuliana.
“The American press constantly writes that the Russian aggressors will run out of strength, equipment, also their morale is weak, and all this gives me hope that everything will end soon. It is hard to be certain about anything, no one knows what Russia will do. I hope that the political and economic pressure will have an effect and yield the desired results.”
The relationship with Rusudan’s family and the support of the Georgian people have been an enormous help to Yuliana in these difficult times.
“The relationship with Rusudan’s family eases our sorrow, they try to support us as much as they can. In addition to us not having to think about financial issues, they support us mentally as well. We’ve become friends with Rusudan’s family and this helps us. Generally, we feel great support from the Georgian people.
“Good news from Ukraine help me to deal with these days, there are bad news in between too, but I try to feel a little relief from the good news. I have video calls with my friends and family, I see my cats, I check social media and see that life goes on in Ukraine, they have switched to a new routine – all this reduces the worry in a way,” says Yulyana.
“There should be no war in any country” – Katerina
Before the war, Katerina had helped refugees from Belarus, Russia and Uzbekistan – she provided legal assistance, and facilitated their access to social services in Ukraine. Now she has ended up as a refugee herself.
“We did not leave because of war, but we became refugees because we cannot go back to Ukraine. I helped refugees before the war, I was a volunteer and tried to change people’s lives for the better. Now that Ukrainians are leaving the country and Europe has given them the same opportunity, that makes me happy,” says Katerina.