Online Presentation on Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in Georgia

On July 1, the Public Defender’s Office of Georgia, with the support of the UN Refugee Agency, held an online presentation on: "Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in Georgia." The challenges and trends relating to the rights situation of migrants, asylum seekers and internationally protected persons, such as the low rate of granting international status in recent years, refusal on security reasons, alternatives to detention and integration, were discussed at the meeting.

Nino Lomjaria, Public Defender of Georgia, and Kemlin Furley, Representative of the UN Refugee Agency in Georgia, delivered welcome speeches at the meeting.

Tamar Gvaramadze, First Deputy Public Defender, presented a chapter on the legal status of foreign citizens in Georgia from the Public Defender's Report on the Situation of Human Rights and Freedoms 2019.

She reviewed the rights situation of asylum seekers, internationally protected persons and of migrants, as well as state border monitoring. According to here, the following issues have been identified as a result of examination of the case:

  • The motive of about 8 out of 84% of negative decisions on granting the international protection status is state security, and those who were denied on the above motive are citizens of the countries with frequent hostilities and mass human rights violations
  • In terms of access to the asylum procedure, it is important to update the rules of cooperation in the field of identification of asylum seekers, their reception at the state border and transfer, as well as exchange of information
  • It is important to ensure the principle of exemption of a person from criminal liability when illegally crossing the border
  • The mechanism of requesting asylum by persons placed in the penitentiary institutions should be improved
  • It is important to better organize patrol checkpoints and border police sectors
  • The restriction provided by Article 11 (i) of the Law of Georgia on the Legal Status of Aliens and Stateless Persons, which provides for the refusal on “other grounds under Georgian legislation”, as well as maintaining statistics, is problematic. In 2019, 25,548 foreigners were refused to enter Georgia, although there are no statistics on how many of them were refused under the mentioned article and how many were refused on other grounds
  • According to the statistics, the total number of cases relating to the issuance of residence permit amounted to 27,763 in 2019 and 93% of the refusals were motivated by state security and/or public order.

Representatives of state agencies, international and non-governmental organizations took part in the online meeting.

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