"Over the past years, we have developed a very good practice of cooperation with the Public Defender. Growing allowance of the PD’s recommendations may also serve as a proof for this. This year is no exception. 91% of the report is taken into account, which I think is very important and shows that the institution of the Public Defender is an effective mechanism in the hands of the Parliament”, - the Chair of the Committee, Sopho Kiladze remarked.
The Public Defender thematically reviewed the main aspects of the protection of human rights in the country.
According to her, the report reflects 335 recommendations developed during 2019 and issued to the relevant agencies.
In 2019, 6737 applications were submitted to the Public Defender's Office, which were followed by a corresponding legal response.
9438 calls were served through the hotline. A total of 579 visits were made to various institutions.
2399 visitors were given legal advice at the Tbilisi office of the staff. Regional offices provided telephone and personal consultations to 4448 interested individuals.
990 thematic meetings were convened. As a result of the review of individual applications, 75 recommendations / suggestions were issued.
The Public Defender positively estimated a number of steps taken in the direction of human rights, but also spoke about the challenges in this direction.
According to the Public Defender, in terms of prevention and investigation of torture and ill-treatment or punishment, there is a tendency for the police to worsen the treatment of administratively detained persons.
As N. Lomjaria added, the Public Defender's report also included cases of alleged ill-treatment of minors.
According to her, an effective investigation into the alleged ill-treatment by law enforcement remains a systemic problem.
The Public Defender hopes that the problem of effectively investigating cases of ill-treatment will be overcome through the active efforts of the State Inspector's Office.
Nino Lomjaria has negatively estimated the acts of pardon issued by the President in 2019 and added that the investigations into the violations of the right to life did not meet the standard of effective investigation.
The Public Defender also estimated the improper treatment of the beneficiaries' somatic health care in psychiatric institutions in terms of the right to life, which leads to a deterioration of the health of patients and, in some cases, death. She spoke about the shortcomings of the State Health Care Program. According to N. Lomjaria, freedom of expression, free and pluralistic media environment remain a challenge.
After introducing the report of the Public Defender, MPs held a discussion. Opposition stressed the night of June 20, 2019.
Sopho Kiladze responded to the critical remarks of a member of the UNM, Salome Samadashvili – “If I were you, I would be ashamed of attending the sitting of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee. You and the political force you identify with are as far from human rights as Georgia and South Korea. I find this comparison to be relevant. Gone are the days when you could suppress the vote of people”.
According to Sopho Kiladze, there is an unequivocal position regarding the night of June 20 that there were cases of disproportionate use of force and this needs a legal response.
"Of course, everyone including the officials need to be interrogated. However, finding the instigator is a separate issue. We know that not only ordinary citizens but also the police officers have been affected. Unfortunately, for some reason this part does not become the subject of discussion. Regrettably, the political force that thirsted for the revolution, made use of Gavrilov's very unfortunate case and tried to break into the Parliament, trying to come to power again. Therefore, I think these people are responsible for the injured”, - S. Kiladze stated.
S. Kiladze reported that there are more than 8 victims of so-called Gavrilov’s Night and all of them shall be given the appropriate status.
"I have repeatedly said that the status of the victim should be given to all the policemen and citizens who were injured that night. You ask me if there are only 8 affected and I tell you that everyone who has been affected should be given this status”, - Sopho Kiladze responded to the question.
Representative of the Majority, Merab Kvaraia drew attention to UNM’s abstaining from voting.
"Another odds suggested by the United National Movement - not to vote for the Constitutional Changes, which became one of the main cornerstones of our country's tomorrow, in fact, left astonished not only our country but also its electorate and international partners", - Merab Kvaraia stated.
The MP inquired about the sudden activation of the opposition amid long-lasting Parliamentary inactivity.
"We have drawn the attention of the whole Europe and the world to the issue of elections. The opposition has attached the life-and-death importance to the proportional elections, for which we have all seen what processes we have gone through and finally reached an agreement with the Georgian Dream's wisdom and consensus", - Merab Kvaraia stated.
According to him, it is wrong and politically unjustified for the National Movement to talk about political prisoners.
"The force that instigated more than 200 political prisoners in Georgia, this fact is also confirmed by international organizations, should not talk about political prisoners. I can list these people by name", - M. Kvaraia added.
As the Chairman of the Committee, Sopho Kiladze, noted at the sitting, the country has taken serious steps forward in terms of the rule of law.
"We have no reason to say that there is a difficult situation in the court, for the simple reason that if in 2010-2011 about 60 000 people applied to the court annually, today this number has already reduced 300 000. It directly indicates that our citizens trust the court, otherwise I can't explain why people go to the court voluntarily to discuss various issues”, - Sopho Kiladze remarked.
As she elucidated, the number of people applying to the Strasbourg court has been reduced five times, adding that the position of a number of international assessors and various authoritative organizations directly states that the country has taken serious steps in terms of the rule of law.
"These facts do not give grounds to say that the situation in the court has worsened. On the contrary, it gives me grounds to say that the situation in the court has improved. Undeniably, there are shortcomings, of course, we still have a lot of work to do in many directions, but there is a sharply positive tendency around”, - Sopho Kiladze reported.