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EU Ambassador gives high assessment to Ombudsman’s report on discrimination

Friday, October 20
Georgia’s Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili has presented the Special Report on Combating and Preventing Discrimination and the Situation of Equality, assessing developments since 2014.

Speaking at the presentation of the report, the Ambassador of the European Union, Janos Herman, stated that the EU welcomed its findings, and the recommendations “should guide our common work.”

“While recognizing a substantial progress, we note the shortcomings identified by the Public Defender. Vulnerable groups, notably persons with disabilities, women or representatives of minorities continue facing obstacles in getting equal treatment in areas such as education or employment. A number of discriminatory practices, well identified by the Public Defender and followed by his clear recommendations, have not been addressed,” Herman said.

The Ambassador recalled the legal changes, pledged during the visa liberalisation process, which would make the anti-discrimination law more effective by including the private sector in its scope.

“Unfortunately, these amendments have been pending since March 2015. They will be subject to our continued monitoring,” he said.

Herman stated that the EU will continue to support the Ombudsman’s efforts.

“Human rights, democracy and rule of law are key priorities for the EU worldwide. In Georgia, the EU has been supporting the Public Defender’s Office to protect the rights of all Georgian citizens, including vulnerable groups,” Ambassador Herman stated.

The assistance formed part of the EU's 'Human Rights for All' programme.

With over EUR 10 Million (over GEL 2.5 million) this programme helps to implement the National Human Rights Action Plan, focusing particularly on areas such as rights of minorities and vulnerable groups, protection of privacy, labour rights and children’s rights, according to the Ambassador.

In the Ombudsman’s report, from September 2016 to August 2017, the Public Defender considered 201 cases related to discrimination, while in the previous reporting period, only 113 applications were considered; in addition, 11 recommendations, 11 general proposals and 4 amicus curiae briefs were developed in this reporting period, while 12 recommendations and 4 general proposals were developed last year.

Case proceedings were terminated in 99 cases, compared with 41 such cases in the previous reporting period; 1 case was declared inadmissible, compared with 19 such cases in the previous reporting period.

Most of the cases concerned alleged discrimination on grounds of different opinions (12%), sexual orientation and gender identity (11%), religion (10%) and political opinion (9%). There were also many cases concerning alleged discrimination on grounds of disability (9%), ethnic origin (7%), sex (6%), age (4%) and nationality (4%). 13% of the submitted applications indicated “other grounds”, while 13% did not show any grounds. Last year, most of the cases concerned alleged cases of discrimination on grounds of political or other opinion (18%), religion (17%) and nationality/ethnicity (14%).

There was also a significant number of applications concerning alleged cases of discrimination on grounds of sex (10%). 8% of the applicants complained about discrimination on other grounds. In addition, in the previous reporting period, the number of alleged cases of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation/gender identity and disability were relatively low, 8% and 7% respectively.