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World Report 2016 of Human Rights Watch includes Georgia

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, January 29
The Human Rights Watch published its World Report 2016, which lists human rights violations in Georgia in 2015.

The authors of the report say that Georgia is a country wherein the aspect of human rights protection is unsustainable.

According to the document, incidents of ill-treatment by law enforcement officials and politically-motivated investigations still take place in the country. Problems in terms of media pluralism were also covered by the report.

“The Georgian Dream coalition government continues to investigate dozens of criminal cases against former officials who served under the previous government, led by the United National Movement (UNM) party. Authorities selected these cases from thousands of complaints citizens filed after the UNM was voted out of office in 2012. UNM members and supporters allege that the prosecutions are politically motivated, pointing to the absence of clear criteria for determining which cases to prosecute, and that investigations overwhelmingly target UNM members,” the document reads.

Moreover, the imprisonment of Gigi Ugulava, the former mayor of Tbilisi and a member of the UNM, was assessed by the authors as an act of inappropriate incarceration.

The report also covers the case of lawyer Giorgi Mdinaradze, who was physically and verbally abused by police officers in the line of his own legal duties.

“Georgia does not have an effective, independent mechanism to investigate crimes committed by law enforcement officials, resulting in frequent impunity,” the authors of the report say.

An ownership dispute over Georgia’s TV broadcaster, Rustavi 2, is one of the main issues of the report. The closure of political talk shows on Imedi broadcaster was also mentioned as a negative fact.

The opposition says that the repost will have a negative impact on Georgia’s international image. They urge the government to improve the detailed shortcomings.

“The government should not reject such a report; on the contrary, they should do their best to improve the situation,” Maia Panjikidze, a member of the Free Democrats opposition party.

According to the UNM, the details in the report are concerning and only a change in government will save the country.

“It is necessary that the government be changed through the elections as soon as possible, in order to solve all problems,” UNM member Chiora Taktakishvili said.

The Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) recommend that the government take active steps in order to eliminate the problems.

The majority says there are no systematic problems in the country. They do not accept the content of the report, saying its authors wrote it based on information supplied by the UNM.

“The report says they rely on the information of the UNM and it does not mean the report is negative itself. It does not affirm that there really are any systematic problems in the country,” Eka Beselia, the majority MP said.

It should be noted that the report of the Human Rights Watch also lists the recommendations of the international organizations towards Georgia, such as the reports of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the US-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission, the assembly’s co-rapporteurs and the European Neighborhood Policy progress report.