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The News in Brief

Friday, January 31
By The Messenger Staff

Public Defender meets Director General of Human Rights and Rule of Law of Council of Europe

Public Defender Nino Lomjaria met with Christos Giakoumopoulos, Director General of the Human Rights and Rule of Law of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg.

The Public Defender reviewed the human rights situation in the country, introduced the activities of the Public Defender’s Office and the challenges recently faced by the institution. She spoke about the violation of confidentiality of the meeting with prisoners by the Special Penitentiary Service of the Ministry of Justice and noted that she had already applied to the State Inspector’s Office and the Prosecutor General's Office of Georgia with a request to investigate the case.

Christos Giakoumopoulos showed interest in the investigation of the cases of ill-treatment by the law enforcement agencies of Georgia and the performance of the State Inspector’s Office. The appointment of judges and the situation of discrimination were other topics of discussion at the meeting.

Georgia improves its score in the StrategEast Westerization Index 2020

StrategEast has released the new edition of Westernization Index, which assesses the processes of adherence to the Western values in post-Soviet countries outside of Russia across five dimensions – political, legal, economic, cultural, and lifestyle.

The Index assesses 14 countries, which proclaimed or restored their independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union (Russia as the successor to the Soviet Union is not considered in the Index). The first Westernization Index by StrategEast was published in 2018.

The StrategEast Westernization Index 2020 demonstrates generally positive dynamics in the westernization of the region: a significant decrease in the level of westernization is observed only in Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan. In other countries, the Westernization Index indicators either increased or remained unchanged. Like two years ago, the Baltic states – Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia occupy top three positions.

Anatoly Motkin, founder and president of StrategEast, identifies three unique features of the Index:
• it is prepared for the West by experts from the region.
• it is the only report to analyze the 14 countries of the post-Soviet region as a whole, without dividing it into the traditional "Eastern Europe", "Transcaucasia" and "Central Asia";
• by measuring the level of Westernization across many different industry parameters, the Index for the first time gives a generalized, integrated assessment of the level of Westernization.

“The 2020 Westernization Index documents that much has been achieved in the past 30 years: Many post-Soviet countries have moved towards more democratic and market-oriented institutions. But the report also demonstrates that much remains to be done” – writes Wolfgang Ischinger, Chairman of the Munich Security Conference, writes in his introduction to the Index.

StrategEast is a US-based nonprofit, the goal of which is to reinforce the values of rule of law and private property protection in Eurasian countries through the transition from natural resources-based to the knowledge-driven economy.

Irakli Beraia: I represent a country, 20% of whose territories is occupied by Russia

At the winter session of the PACE, where the issue of restoration of powers for the Russian delegation was discussed, the member of the Georgian Parliamentary Delegation and the Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee, Irakli Beraia delivered a speech about Russia's aggressive actions and the occupation of Georgian territories.

“I represent a country, 20% of whose territory is occupied by Russia and we strongly contradict the recognition of the delegation's authority of the aggressor. Russia proceeds illegal occupation of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali. This outright infringement of international law, including the UN Charter and the Helsinki Final Act, as well as the EU-brokered ceasefire agreement, means a direct attack on European security and international order,” noted Beraia.

As the Georgian MP added, while the issue of restoration of authority of Russian delegation is being considered in Strasbourg, in Georgia, the illegal process of borderisation, separating communities and families, depriving them of access to their agricultural land, religious sites and health organizations is still ongoing on.

The Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee also dwelt on the rights to safe and dignified return of internally displaced persons and refugees, noting that hundreds of thousands of refugees who had been forced out of their homes by permanent ethnic cleansing had been deprived of their rights. According to him, illegal elections in the occupied regions, which are accompanied by the recent developments in Sokhumi, are unacceptable and serve only to enhance Russia's illegal interests.