Legal Status of Refugees and Aliens in Georgia
On 19 June 2019, Public Defender Nino Lomjaria held Round Table on Legal Status of Refugees and Aliens in Georgia in connection with the World Refugee Day. The efforts made by the Public Defender in the direction of studying the situation of refugees and aliens in Georgia was introduced at the event.
In her welcome speech, the Public Defender noted that the number of asylum seekers has increased in Georgia over the last few years, as it has happened all over the world. According to the 2018 data, 1 382 refugees and persons with humanitarian status live in Georgia. Most of them are citizens of Russia, Iraq, Ukraine and Syria. Nino Lomjaria talked about the processes ongoing in the mentioned direction and evaluated the development and adoption of the Georgian Law on International Protection and its subordinate acts as a positive step of the past years. However, she indicated the shortcomings identified as a result of monitoring and examination, including the refusal to grant the status of an asylum seeker on the motive of state security without referring to the specific ground; refusal to issue a residence permit on the ground of protection of state security and/or public order. In certain cases, the problem is to refuse entry of foreign citizens at the border checkpoints without indicating specific grounds, which, according to the Public Defender, is not in compliance with human rights standards. Certain problems were identified in terms of delaying aliens at border checkpoints. Another challenge is integration of asylum seekers and internationally protected persons.
It is one of the priorities of the Public Defender's Office to study the rights situation of asylum seekers, internationally protected persons and migrants. Since 2015, Public Defender's representatives have been actively studying the human rights situation of asylum seekers and refugees in Georgia, as well as carrying out intensive monitoring of access to asylum procedures at the state border of Georgia, as well as the center for asylum seekers and the procedure of determination of the refugee status in order to check the quality of the asylum procedure, with the support of the UNHCR Representative in South Caucasus; in addition, trainings are held within the framework of the project, both for the employees of the Office and representatives of state agencies with regard to asylum issues and legislation.
The event was held within the framework of the joint project of the Public Defender's Office and the Representative of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in the South Caucasus.