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Georgia responds to US State Department assessment

By Messenger Staff
Monday, March 15
On March 11 the US State Department issued its assessment of the Human Rights situation around the world in 2009. 60 pages of this are devoted to Georgia. The assessment is made by evaluating the positions of the Government and opposition and observing the situation in the country via different sources and resources. Though certain progress is identified overall the text is rather critical.

President Saakashvili responded to the report on March 12 by saying that there is nothing extraordinary in the text and it is critical of all countries including well-developed ones. However he said that the authors of the report had mentioned the progress achieved by Georgia. Not only the USA but even hostile countries cannot ignore Georgia's achievements, stated Saakashvili.

MP Goka Gabashvili from the ruling party said that the State will consider all the remarks and criticism in the report, however he added that the Government had been already planning to take the steps suggested. Opposition representatives urged the ruling party to consider all the remarks made by the State Department. If the Government wants to retain the support the US renders to Georgia very serious attention should be paid to all the shortcomings mentioned in the report, stated head of the Georgian Young Lawyers Association Tamar Khidasheli. Leader of the Christian Democrat faction in Parliament Giorgi Targamadze stated that the report outlines the anti-constitutional activities of the Government. He warned the President to take adequate measures to ensure that the US State Department does not report the same things next year.

The US State Department report pays some attention to violations committed during the Presidential and Parliamentary election result counting process and the appeal submitted against this and also mentions kidnappings of opponents, attacks on opposition members, the intolerable situation in the prisons, arrests for political motives, dispersing demonstrations by force, the authorities putting pressure on the court and corruption at the highest level. It also states that the freedom of the media is not respected in Georgia. As it is known in 2010 Georgia has local elections. 'Traditional violations’ during the balloting process, using administrative resources for party political purposes and other forms of electoral misconduct could occur.

The State Department document mentions that gross human rights violations are also taking place in the occupied territories of Georgia which are beyond the control of the Georgian state. It is recommended that the international community take more responsibility for getting involved in these issues. However this comment is directed at the Russian Government rather than the Georgian.