Under the Belt and Road cooperation, the Kvesheti-Kobi Road Tunnel Project is a vital part of the North-South Corridor in Georgia, which can eradicate winter traffic interruptions of Georgia's northern mountainous regions after completion. Builders from different countries are chasing their dreams in the project.
Produced by Xinhua Global Service
Georgia should ensure effective implementation of the anti-discrimination legislation and improve protection of human rights in the fields of labour and the environmentFriday, 15 July 2022 13:37
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
The Statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia on the so-called presidential elections in the occupied Tskhinvali regionTuesday, 10 May 2022 10:05
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 MaySaturday, 07 May 2022 13:12
"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
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.
On 12 April 2022, with the assistance of the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia, an international scientific-practical online conference "The Way to the Heart" was held to mark World Health Day widely celebrated in Turkmenistan.
The conference was organized by the Ministry of Health and Medical Industry of Turkmenistan, the Silk Road Heart Rhythm Society and the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia.
The conference was attended by leading health professionals from Turkmenistan, Georgia and the USA. During the conference, innovative treatment methods in interventional cardiology and arrhythmology were considered. The participants discussed modern technologies, methods of diagnostics and treatment of arrhythmias, heart failure and other cardiovascular diseases.
At the end of the conference, the Turkmen and Georgian experts expressed their desire to further deepen and broaden cooperation in this field.
On 5 April 2022, with the active assistance of the Embassy of Turkmenistan in Georgia, an online meeting on the Single Window system was held between the specialists of the State Customs Service of Turkmenistan and the Customs Department of Revenue Service of the Ministry of Finance of Georgia.
Georgian customs officers shared their experience in using the Single-Window principle. During the meeting, the parties discussed in detail a range of issues of mutual interest, as well as issues of further development of cooperation and exchange of experience between the Customs authorities of Turkmenistan and Georgia.
The meeting was held in traditionally friendly and trustworthy atmosphere peculiar to Turkmen-Georgian relations.
Incumbent President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov sent his sincere congratulations and best wishes to Ms. Salome Zourabichvili, President of Georgia in connection with her birthday anniversary.
Availing of this pleasant opportunity, the incumbent President of Turkmenistan wished Ms. Salome Zourabichvili, President of Georgia sound health, personal happiness, boundless energy as well as great successes in all her undertakings.
Children and families in Georgia will benefit from child-centered municipal social programmes as a result of a new initiative funded by the EU and implemented by UNICEF.
The 18-month project, ‘Supporting Municipalities in Developing Municipal Social Programmes for Children and Families with Children’, will assist ten selected municipalities in developing social programmes tailored to the needs of the children and families with children.
The project, based on the methodology used by the EU Member States, will develop social needs assessment guidelines and tools, and provide trainings and on-the-job coaching to members of the local task force in pilot municipalities. They will also learn how to monitor the implementation of social programmes.
The project is implemented in partnership with the National Association of Local Self-Government of Georgia.
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cooperation with its Eastern partners
By order of the President of Turkmenistan, on February 22, 2022, the delegation of Turkmenistan headed by the Deputy Chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R.Meredov paid an official visit to the Russian Federation (Moscow).
During the visit, a number of meetings were held, at which topical issues for the further comprehensive development of bilateral relations were discussed, tasks and plans for their intensification were identified, taking into account the mutual potential.
At the talks between the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R.Meredov and the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia S.Lavrov, a wide range of issues of bilateral cooperation was discussed, and views were exchanged on topical issues of regional and international politics. The interlocutors noted that today the Turkmen-Russian relations are of a stable, strategic nature, developing in accordance with the agreements reached between the Presidents of the two countries. It was noted that the close partnership in the political, trade-economic and cultural-humanitarian spheres between Turkmenistan and Russia is now reaching a new level, developing progressively and purposefully.
During the talks, the heads of the foreign ministries of Turkmenistan and Russia stressed the great importance of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries marked this year. It was emphasized that this event marked a new stage in the centuries-old history of Turkmen-Russian relations, largely ensuring their constructive, respectful and equal nature at the present stage.
As part of the meeting, the heads of the foreign ministries and members of the delegations viewed a photo exhibition timed to coincide with this significant date.
The parties agreed to intensify efforts to create conditions for the continuation of constructive, mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.
During the meeting of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan R.Meredov with the Chairman of the International Affairs Committee of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia G.Karasin, the importance of further development and enhancement of inter-parliamentary cooperation was emphasized.
In this context, the parties discussed issues related to the preparation and holding of the Inter-Parliamentary Forum of the countries of Central Asia and the Russian Federation in May 2022 in Ashgabat. It was emphasized that the upcoming event would be important for strengthening friendship, cooperation and mutual understanding between the states of the region and the Russian Federation, in providing a legislative framework for partnership in the long term.
As part of the official visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan to Moscow, he met with the Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for the delimitation and demarcation of the border of the Russian Federation with neighboring CIS member states, the Head of the Russian delegation at multilateral negotiations on the Caspian Sea M.Petrakov.
During the talks, it was noted that the interaction between Turkmenistan and Russia makes a significant constructive contribution to strengthening friendship, cooperation and mutually beneficial multilateral partnership in the Caspian Sea, turning the Caspian region into one of the centers of economic, transport and logistics, energy and investment partnerships in Eurasia. In this regard, the parties noted the special importance of the Sixth Summit of the Caspian States scheduled for this year in Turkmenistan and agreed to work closely for the successful preparation and holding of this event.
The delegation of Turkmenistan met with the Deputy Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States I.Nematov.
During the conversation, it was noted that the cooperation of Turkmenistan within the framework of the CIS has recently received new qualitative impulses aimed at strengthening partnerships in the economy, industrial cooperation, and the implementation of large infrastructure projects.
In connection with the forthcoming early elections of the President of Turkmenistan on March 12 this year, the issues of organizing the work of the CIS observation mission at them were substantively discussed.
During the visit, consultations were also held between the foreign ministries of Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation at the level of Deputy Foreign Ministers of the two countries in accordance with the signed program of cooperation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation for the current period.
As a result of the visit of the delegation of Turkmenistan to Moscow and the bilateral Turkmen-Russian negotiations, a Joint Statement of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation was adopted in connection with the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, and the following documents were signed:
- "Roadmap" of interaction between Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation on issues of regional security;
- Plan for the implementation of the main directions of the Turkmen-Russian cooperation in the field of ensuring international information security for 2022-2025;
- Plan of events dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Turkmenistan and the Russian Federation.