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The News in Brief

Tuesday, April 22
69 inmates granted parole to leave prisons

69 inmates, including 7 women, have left prisons, in result of the decision by Georgia’s Parole Board. The commission’s sitting was held on April 16, 17 and 18.

The commission`s members discussed cases of about 770 prisoners, in particular of those prisoners who already have served halves of their minor crimes, two-thirds of the terms for their serious crimes or three-fourths of the term of grave crimes.
(Rustavi 2)

Georgia seeks to become full member of European family

"Georgia seeks to become a full member of the European family; it is a difficult, but an achievable goal," Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili said in the television program Meetings at Writers' House.

"Today, many say that we have chosen the European path of development. I would like to remind these people that our country chose this path several centuries ago, in other words, it is a very natural process for us started by our great ancestors. And this house is a bright example of which Georgia they dreamed of. Our country wants to become a full member of the European family. Of course, we have to pass a difficult and a long way, but this is an achievable goal," the prime minister said.

About 30 parties to participate in Georgian municipal elections

Some 28 political parties appealed to Georgian Central Election Commission (CEC) submitting their requests to participate in the municipal elections, CEC told Trend on April 18.

Six parties have already been registered.

The deadline for submitting applications is April 19. The registration of candidates for mayors and local administrations heads will end on May 22.

International observers should appeal to the CEC with regard to registration before June 8 and local NGOs prior to June 5.

For media representatives the registration term expires on June 12.

The local elections are scheduled to be held in Georgia on June 15.

Georgia can apply for EU membership if it complies with democratic principles

Eastern Partnership countries have a European perspective and can apply for EU membership in case of compliance with the principles of democracy.

"The European Parliament stresses that the association agreements with Ukraine and other countries of the Eastern Partnership are not the end point in relations with the EU," according to the European Parliament's resolution recently passed in Brussels. "The European Parliament also stressed that in accordance with Article 49 of the Treaty on European Union, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, as well as any other European country, have a European perspective and can apply for EU membership in compliance with the principles of democracy, respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights, minority rights and ensuring the rule of rights."

This session is the last one before the elections to the European Parliament, scheduled for May 23-25.

School children in Tbilisi harassed due to teacher neglect

A new study has found that children in Georgian schools are verbally and physically harassed because of their ethnicity, belief, appearance or for other reasons.

The study is based on interviews with all pupils from 8th to 11th grade at six public and one private school in different districts of Tbilisi.

It was conducted by Georgian Centre for Physiological and Medical Rehabilitation of Torture Victims (GCRT) together with Partnership for Human Rights, Nonviolent Communication Institute and others.

Psychologist and researcher Nato Kvavilashvili says that in these seven schools, teachers ignore the children, especially during breaks, and this raises the risk of bullying. Pupils interviewed told of violence in their classrooms.

It appears teachers even engage in abuse against the children themselves, often making comments about their looks and sometimes mentioning their parent disrespectfully. Also, pupils are discriminated for their ethnicity or religious beliefs.

According to the Public Defender’s 2013 report, there was no improvement in terms of freedom of belief in public schools last year. Ombudsman Ucha Nanuashvili said children with different religious beliefs are not protected from psychological, moral and physical harassment.

GCRT and partner organizations are ready to collaborate with the ministry and aim to strengthen the existing concept for safety in schools and start an open dialogue about violence.
(Democracy & Freedom Watch)

Registration at Georgian public schools starts from Wednesday

The registration of the entrants at Georgian public schools starts in a few days. The parents of the children will be able to undergo online registration from April 23 to May 2, but the priority will be granted to those families, whose elder children already study at a selected school or where they work.

The second phase of the registration will be opened on May 20 and end on June 20. The ministry of education of Georgia will open the third phase of registration at Georgia`s public school will last from July 10 to 18.
(Rustavi 2)

Dutch government searches for descendants of Georgian war heroes

International officials are searching for the descendants of Georgian war heroes who died while protecting peace in World War II.

The Netherlands announced it had offered assistance to the descendants of Georgian World War II soldiers.

The Dutch government said they would cover the costs of the descendants travel to the Netherlands so they can visit their ancestors’ graves.

Four Georgian WWII heroes are buried at the Brotherhood Cemetery in Amersfoort. One of the soldiers, Karpo Mekudishvili, originated from Telavi, Kakhetian province.

Georgian immigrant to Holland Natali Totoshvili told a regional Gurjaani TV journalist that she decided to help the Dutch society find relatives of the war heroes.

She returned to Georgia to assist authorities search for the descendants, in particular Mekudishvili, whose date of birth is unknown.

She said during WWII there were many Georgian soldiers in concentration camps in the Netherlands while their families received letters that confirmed they were "lost”.

"Soldiers who died during the war are highly appreciated in the Netherlands,” Totoshvili told Gurjaani TV, adding this was because they died for peace within the Dutch land.