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The News in Brief

Wednesday, July 9
Human rights ombudsman criticizes party funding law

Human Rights Ombudsman Sozar Subari has criticized the ruling party move to sever party funding to the main opposition coalition.

Subari said yesterday it is a direct attack against democratic development and pluralism.

Four parties legally qualified for state financing after winning seats in the May 21 parliamentary elections.

The new law would strip state financing from the United Opposition coalition, members of which have renounced their MP status in protest at what they say were rigged elections.

“The representatives of political groups, including politicians elected in the parliamentary elections, have a full right to participate in the political life in a form they consider necessary,” Subari said. “Accordingly, the state has no right to define the form of their activities.”

Subari also said that voters who cast ballot for the opposition coalition had granted “a mandate of trust” to those political parties, as well as the duty to act on their behalf which includes “choosing a form of protest.”

Parliament passed the controversial amendment on its first hearing on July 5.

The amendment will go into force if it is approved in its second and third hearings. (Prime News)

OSCE ambassadors visit South Ossetia

A delegation of OSCE ambassadors went to the breakaway region of South Ossetia yesterday.

The diplomats are also scheduled to visit Sokhumi, in Abkhazia.

In Tbilisi the delegation has already met with Georgian Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili and is due to meet President Mikheil Saakashvili and Prime Minster Lado Gurgenidze before the visit ends today. (Prime News)

GPB not to air United Opposition documentary until CEC checks it

The state-funded Georgian Public Broadcaster (GPB) will not air a documentary movie made by the United Opposition until it is checked by the Central Election Commission (CEC).

GPB chief Levan Kubaneishvili said the TV company will only broadcast the film if the CEC decides that it is unbiased.

United Opposition member Manana Nachkebia said today that the GPB had turned into a government TV station and is no longer a means for expressing free speech.

The film, entitled ‘Actions not Words,’ documents alleged foul play in the May 21 parliamentary elections. (Prime News)

Foreign Ministry, UN representatives discuss conflict issues

Foreign Minister Eka Tkeshelashvili met with UN representatives yesterday.

Deputy Foreign Minister Giga Bokeria and Georgian Ambassador to the UN Irakli Alasania attended the meeting which discussed peacekeeping operations and other conflict issues.

The UN delegation, led by Bertrand Ramcharan, was instructed by the UN secretary general to provide a comprehensive assessment of the peacekeeping process in Abkhazia. (Prime News)

Anti-trafficking report again puts Georgia in top category

The US State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report 2008, which considers the efforts of 170 countries to combat trafficking, has again placed Georgia in the highest category in terms of effectively tackling trafficking.

The Report 2008 notes that the Government of Georgia fully complies with the minimum standards for tackling trafficking in all three categories—prosecution of traffickers, protection of victims and preventive measures. (Prime News)