Constitutional Claim on Declaration of Norms Restricting Citizenship and Rights Situation of Aliens Unconstitutional
According to the Constitution of Georgia, the Public Defender of Georgia has the authority to apply to the Constitutional Court when the basic constitutional rights of certain persons are violated. To this end, the Public Defender of Georgia applied to the Constitutional Court and demanded the repeal of various norms, which unconstitutionally restrict the right to appeal in the process of obtaining Georgian citizenship, as well as violate the rights of asylum seekers:
- The Public Defender filed a constitutional claim with the Constitutional Court of Georgia and requested that the norm prohibiting the right to appeal against the President's refusal of granting citizenship be declared According to the Public Defender, the decision on granting citizenship, which is made on the basis of objective criteria defined by law, must be subject to judicial control in order to exclude the risk of making arbitrary, biased and discriminatory decisions.
- Like international law, the Georgian Constitution and legislation recognize that Georgia shall not punish refugees for entering or staying illegally on its territory. However, according to the Law of Georgia on International Protection, as an exception, asylum seekers may be subject to criminal liability if the final decision determines that the person does not actually need international protection. According to the constitutional claim, imposing liability for illegal entry and stay is contrary to the right to asylum and violates the principle of legality.
- The Public Defender's constitutional claim also appeals against the precondition for the consideration of an application for international protection, according to which, the applicant must be on the territory of Georgia from the day of the submission of an application until the enactment of the final decision enters. The mentioned process can last up to two years and the crossing of the Georgian border by the applicant in the given period, even for a short period of time, will lead to the termination and refusal of the consideration of the application. During this period, applicants in Georgia cannot use a number of services, they do not have access to certain banking services, and due to the ban, they cannot go to the country where they can receive the necessary services, neither can they leave Georgia for short-term jobs. According to the Public Defender, this rule established by law is rigid, does not take into account individual needs of the status seeker, except for the "vital interest" that is mainly related to the health condition, and blanketly restricts the right to asylum.
We hope that the Constitutional Court of Georgia will grant the claims of the Public Defender of Georgia and thus ensure the improvement of the rights situation of asylum seekers and stateless persons in Georgia.