Online Meeting on Human Rights Defenders and Challenges Faced by Them
On October 8, 2020, the Public Defender's Office of Georgia organized an online meeting on the theme: "Human Rights Defenders and the Challenges Faced by Them". Public Defender Nino Lomjaria, Deputy Prosecutor General Natia Merebashvili, Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Nino Tsatsiashvili, Chairman of the Board of the Tbilisi Human Rights House Baia Pataraia, as well as representatives of state agencies and non-governmental organizations, took part in the event.
Representatives of non-governmental organizations highlighted the necessity of raising public awareness of human rights and the unfortunate trend of criminal actions and discrediting campaigns against human rights defenders in recent years, as well as the obligations of the state in this regard.
Salome Shengelia, Head of the Human Rights Division of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Georgia, spoke about the changes drafted on the basis of the Public Defender's recommendations, which should ensure participation of human rights defenders in the investigation of criminal cases and bring the quality of such investigations, as well as the procedural guidance, in line with international standards. The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia expressed readiness to start producing statistics on crimes committed against human rights defenders in a pilot mode.
Tamar Gvaramadze, First Deputy Public Defender, presented a "Guide to Working on Issues relating to Human Rights Defenders", which explains the concept of a human rights defender. In particular, the Public Defender of Georgia, in accordance with established international practices and standards, defines the human rights defender as any person, regardless of professional or other status, who acts independently or together with others, through peaceful means, to protect, realize and promote human rights at national or international level and recognizes the universality of human rights for everyone. The guide also outlines the efforts of the Public Defender's Office to strengthen the protection of human rights defenders and the effectiveness of their activities.
The Public Defender of Georgia pays special attention to the challenges faced by human rights defenders, to which an independent chapter has been dedicated in the parliamentary reports since 2018.