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Universal Periodic Review – MEDIA BRIEF

Tuesday, 10 November 2015 (Morning)

(Disclaimer: The following brief is not an official record, provides a brief factual summary of the UPR Working Group meeting with the State under review, and does not cover all points addressed)

State under review

Georgia
Represented by 21-member delegation headed by Ms. Kathuna Totladze, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs

Documents

To access national report, compilation of UN information, and summary of stakeholders’ information, visit
the  Georgia page on the UPR webpage

Troika *

South Africa, Viet Nam, Montenegro

Opening statement by State under review

Few points raised in the opening statement of State under review:
(See full statement on Georgia page on UPR Extranet **)

  • Georgia had adopted in 2014 its first comprehensive long-term Human Rights Strategy 2014 – 2020 and subsequent Action Plan for 2014-2015. The strategy had been elaborated on the basis of recommendations made by national human rights institutions and explicitly required from the State to respect, protect, fulfil and promote human rights;
  • A Human Rights Inter-Agency Council under the Prime Minister, bringing together ministers as well as civil society representatives and international organizations, was responsible for the effective implementation and monitoring of the strategy;
  • The adoption of a comprehensive anti-discrimination law in 2014 was one of the country’s most recent and important legislative developments. It prohibited all forms of discrimination, including on the basis of gender identity, in both the public and private sectors and imposed responsibilities upon public institutions, any legal entity and individuals;
  • Georgia’s judiciary had benefited from a wide-ranging reform, a first phase of which had been completed in 2013 by the adoption of a range of legislative amendments. As a result of which the High Council of Justice had become more democratic, open and transparent;
  • On reforms undertaken in the law enforcement sector, the Government had divided police and intelligence functions. A modern migration management service had also been established;
  • Depoliticizing and strengthening the institutional independence of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office was one of the Georgian government’s key priorities. A first step had been achieved in 2013 when the Minister of Justice relinquished her prosecutorial powers in favour of the Chief Prosecutor;
  • The Government continued to implement reforms in order to prevent and punish acts of torture and ill-treatment, which had been eradicated as a systemic problem. The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture had observed a large degree of success in the implementation of reforms made following the parliamentary elections of 2012;
  • Considerable progress had been achieved in the area of penitentiary reform. The number of inmates had been more than halved to 10,000 in 2013 as a result of a large-scale amnesty;
  • Georgia had carried out numerous reforms in order to improve the country’s media environment and facilitate media pluralism. These measures had included the adoption of a law ensuring greater levels of democracy in the compositions of the Board of the Georgia’s  Public Broadcaster;
  • Significant progress had been made in terms of finding long-term solutions to promote the integration of internally displaced persons and to ensure the protection of their rights during displacement. At this stage 15,000 IDP families had already been given accommodation;
  • Concerning children, a Juvenile Justice Code with the aim to fully incorporate the best interest of the child into Georgian law had also been adopted in 2015;
  • The foreign military occupation of Georgia’s regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia had gravely affected the human rights situation therein and frequent violations were taking place there. In order to keep the international community informed, the Ministry of Foreign affairs had begun to prepare quarterly reports on the situation in the regions.

Participants

In total 71 States participated in the dialogue: 28 HRC members and 43 observers  (Statements available on Georgia page on UPR Extranet )

Positive achievements

Positive achievements noted by delegations included, among others:

  • Adoption of the Anti-discrimination Act in 2014;
  • Ratification of the Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities;
  • The National Action Plan on Gender Equality;
  • Signing of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women;
  • The establishment of the National Human Rights Action Plan (2014-2015);
  • Steps to improve prison conditions.

Issues and Questions

Issues and questions raised by the Working Group included, among others:

  • National anti-discrimination legislation and policies; 
  • Measures to address alleged cases of ill-treatment of detainees;
  • Ensuring the independence of the judiciary; 
  • Upholding the rights of ethnic and religious minorities;
  • Efforts towards the promotion of gender equality;
  • Promoting the right to freedom of expression and the media.

Recommendations

States participating in the dialogue posed a series of recommendations to Georgia.  These pertained to the following issues, among others

  • To improve the Implementation of the anti-discrimination law; To establish a mechanism that monitored the implementation of the 2014 anti-discrimination legislation; To modify criminal law to criminalize all forms of racial discrimination;
  • To ensure full enjoyment of freedom of religion or belief of minorities; To ensure teaching and preservation of minority languages; To encourage stronger participation of women and ethnic minorities in political decision-making processes;
  • To address violence and hate speech against ethnic and religious minorities; To develop and implement a strategy to prosecute hate crimes;
  • To adopt measures to properly address, investigate and prosecute all cases of alleged ill-treatment of persons in detention; To establish an independent investigative mechanism to investigate alleged human rights violations committed by law enforcement;
  • To continue addressing overcrowding in prisons; To continue to strengthen the national preventative mechanism;
  • To strengthen the independence of the judiciary;
  • To strengthen efforts towards the promotion of gender equality; To strengthen the Gender Equality Council;
  • To continue to combat and investigate cases of violence against women and domestic violence;
  • To continue efforts to eliminate instances of child, early or forced marriages;
  • To continue steps to ensure the protection of persons with disabilities; To harmonise national legislation with the CRPD;
  • To ensure the right to freedom of expression and media pluralism;
  • Ratification of human rights instruments: the Convention of the rights of migrant workers, the Rome Statute of the ICC, the Istanbul Convention on preventing and combatting violence against women and domestic violence, the OP to the ICESCR, the 3rd OP to the CRC (communications), and the OP of the CRPD. 

 

Adoption of report of Working Group

The adoption of the report -recommendations section- of the UPR Working Group on Georgia is scheduled to take place on Thursday, 12 November 2015

*The troikas are a group of three States selected through a drawing of lots who serve as rapporteurs and who are charged with preparing the report of the Working Group on the country review with the involvement of the State under review and assistance from the OHCHR.

** For access to the UPR Extranet, please fill out the following form to receive a username and password

Media contacts:
Rolando Gómez, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9711,
rgomez@ohchr.org
Cédric Sapey, Public Information Officer, OHCHR, + 41(0)22 917 9695, csapey@ohchr.org 

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