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Ombudsman presents annual report on human rights

By Ana Robakidze
Tuesday, April 1
Georgian Public Defender, Ucha Nanuashvili presented his annual report on human rights to the media and said fundamental violations of human rights were not recorded in 2013.

The report displays information on the number of important cases recorded in 2012-2013 that the ombudsmanís office has been investigating and speaks about the positive, as well as negative developments in human rights protection.

The public defender continues to study the death cases of inmates. Nanuashvili says the situation in the penitentiary system of Georgia is quite alarming. According to the report, the government failed to fulfill its duty and ensure the effective protection of the right to life. The report also says that the healthcare that inmates are offered does not meet the necessary standards.

According to the ombudsman, the large-scale amnesty carried out in 2013 and the general liberalization of the criminal policy in the country should be recorded as one of the important achievements in human rights protection. However, Nanuashvili believes that single act of amnesty cannot be an effective measurement for restoring justice. He recommends establishing a number of effective legal mechanisms that would help former inmates with restoring their status in society.

The ombudsman positively assessed the situation in media freedom. The report says no cases of media freedom infringement were registered by the public defenderís office.

Pointing out the major challenges in human rights, the report speaks about the gender imbalance in Georgian politics, the violent, homophobic attitude towards LGBT people, as well as the issue of environmental migrants. Nanauashvili says 35,204 families, affected by natural disasters need the appropriate living conditions in the new regions they were forced to move to.

ďThe situation still remains alarming in the childrenís rights protection,Ē Nanaushvili and his office recorded vast number of child abuse cases, as well as death cases and a high rate of child poverty. The public defender calls on the government to pay special attention to childrenís rights in the high-mountain regions.

The report also shows that the public trust in the ombudsmanís office, as well as the human rights awareness has increased in the country. Over 11,000 Georgian citizens applied to the office in 2013, which is twice more than the number of applicants in previous years.

Nanaushvili calls on the government to cooperate with the public defenderís office and to fulfill the recommendations presented in the report, which should help to establish high standards of human rights protection in Georgia.

Opposition party of the United National Movement (UNM) believes Nanuashvili has not included a number of important cases in his report. MPs from the parliamentary opposition say there were several cases of political oppression in the country, which have not appeared in the report.