US State Department Issues Annual Human Rights Report
State Department Human Rights Report – on the Situation in Georgia
Georgian leadership and opposition discuss criticisms in document
The State Department’s annual reports on the state of human rights in the world are based on information provided by non-governmental organizations and oppositionists, and these documents do not represent the position of the United States. This is how the Georgian authorities reacted to the criticism contained in the State Department’s 2018 report on human rights published on March 13..
“We always take into account the recommendations of our American partners, but I want to draw your attention to the fact that this is a report that does not contain assessments from the United States. This is a report that presents a compilation of assessments by various NGOs and opposition parties, ”Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani said in a commentary to the media on March 14..
At the same time, Zalkaliani noted as “important” that part of the report that concerns violations of human rights in Russian-occupied Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region..
Reaction of the opposition and NGOs
Meanwhile, the Georgian opposition advised the country’s leadership, instead of “self-deception”, to take steps to eliminate violations, which are mentioned in the report of the State Department..
At the same time, representatives of Georgian non-governmental organizations noted that it is “at least inconvenient” for the Georgian authorities to make statements that the US State Department uses inaccurate information in its report.
“This report is a mirror that perfectly presents the situation in our country from the point of view of human rights, and the problems that characterize the Georgian justice system today,” said Giorgi Mshvenieradze, chairman of the Georgian Democratic Initiative NGO…
Sulkhan Saladze, the head of the Georgian Young Lawyers Association, said that the non-governmental sector has been “constantly” pointing out to the authorities about problems in the judicial system and in the media, and is also trying to draw the attention of the country’s leadership to issues related to elections.
“But the authorities constantly point out to us that all this is part of our political agenda, and not a conversation about real problems,” the human rights activist said..
Georgia in the report of the State Department
The State Department’s report on the state of human rights in Georgia includes such problems as the independence of the judiciary, interference by the authorities in the work of the media, violations during the presidential election campaign, elite corruption, inhuman and degrading treatment in prisons, ineffective investigations of cases against law enforcement officers. security forces and human rights violations in occupied Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region, including ethnic harassment, arbitrary detentions and killings of ethnic Georgians.
The document also talks about the facts of violence against representatives of the LGBT community, about domestic violence, about working conditions and about infringement of confidentiality..
The report also notes positive trends, among which are the absence of recorded manifestations of anti-Semitism over the past year, and the positive results of the practice of house arrest used in 2017 for mothers and minors serving sentences..
“Important questions for the future of Georgia”
Acting US Ambassador to Georgia Ross Wilson, commenting on the State Department report, noted that the partners’ assessments should be critical, since this criticism is aimed at achieving better results..
“As reliable friends of Georgia and its government, we are obliged to prepare a report on these issues … Georgia has long been a leader in the region, in terms of human rights and democracy, and it retains this leadership … we are actively discussing all this with the Georgian authorities and expect that we will continue our strong, friendly and fruitful dialogue on all those issues that are important for the future of Georgia, ”the acting US Ambassador told Georgian journalists.
At a briefing in Washington a day earlier, Michael Kozak, Senior Adviser to the Bureau of the State Department on Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, told the Georgian TV channel Rustavi 2 that, despite the fact that Georgia has made a lot of efforts over the years to make progress, “all there are still many issues that can be corrected. ” According to him, the United States, in relations with its partners, “always insists” that they work to resolve such problems..
“I had the honor to visit Georgia and discuss these issues with the country’s leadership. And this is a good, serious dialogue, and the Georgian authorities – previous and current, recognize that they can take measures to improve the situation and they are working on this, and if we can help them in this, we will do it with pleasure. But, as I said, there are problems, “said a senior adviser to the State Department..