Public Defender of Georgia Describes Existing Practice of Appointment of Supporter as Encouragement of Discrimination
On June 21, 2017, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the High Council of Justice of Georgia and Levan Samkharauli National Forensics Bureau with a general proposal, where he noted that the current practice of medical assessment and decision-making for the appointment of a supporter promotes discrimination against persons with disabilities.
The applicant argued that, on the one hand, the National Forensics Bureau used a blanket approach when assessing his psychosocial needs and indicated in the conclusion that he needed a supporter in almost all areas of the public life, which significantly exceeded his needs, while on the other hand, the court made a decision on the appointment of a supporter only based on the conclusion. The applicant’s interests were defended in the Public Defender’s Office by Ana Arganashvili, Head of the NGO - Partnership for Human Rights.
In the general proposal, the Public Defender noted that the individual approach to the supposed recipient of a supporter should be indicated in the court decisions apart from the conclusion on the psychosocial needs. The court must prove that when appointing a supporter, it relies on the psycho-social needs of the support recipient and makes a decision based on the best interests of the person. Otherwise, a threat may emerge that a full replacement of the person’s will, instead of support model, will be used, and unjustified interference with the will of the person will take place, which contradicts, on the one hand, the standard established by the Constitutional Court of Georgia, and on the other hand, the obligations under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the European Convention on Human Rights.
Based on the above, the Public Defender appealed to the High Council of Justice to determine a standard for common courts of Georgia, according to which, courts will be obliged to define the spheres and scopes of the support based on the person’s individual psycho-social needs and interests; he also called on the National Forensics Bureau to use individualized approach in evaluating psychosocial needs.
It is noteworthy that in 2016 the Public Defender carried out a survey – Capacity - Legislative Reform without Implementation.