Deputy Public Defender Holds Meetings in UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights

On February 11-12, 2020, Deputy Public Defender Giorgi Burjanadze held meetings in Geneva to discuss with the relevant United Nations bodies the activities carried out and the challenges faced by the National Preventive Mechanism.

The Deputy Public Defender of Georgia held meetings in the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT), in particular with the Chairman of the Subcommittee, Mr. Malcolm Evans, as well as with the European Regional Group, which comprises nine members of the Subcommittee. Detailed information was presented at the meetings about the activities of the National Preventive Mechanism, recent reports and current challenges. Special emphasis was placed on the need and importance that the SPT take appropriate actions to ensure that the rights of persons placed in the closed institutions of Georgia are properly protected.

The National Preventive Mechanism, like SPT, was set up under the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. The authority of the National Preventive Mechanism in Georgia is exercised by the Public Defender of Georgia. One of the mandates of SPT under the Optional Protocol is to support national prevention mechanisms and to provide recommendations to the States to strengthen the mechanisms.

A meeting was also held with Hulan Tsedev,Chiefof the Europe and Central Asia Section at theUN Human Rights Office (OHCHR). The topics of discussion were the many-year efforts of the Public Defender’s Office of Georgia in preventing ill-treatment, the challenges faced by the National Preventive Mechanism and the recent incidents, during which the Minister of Justice and the Special Penitentiary Service disclosed information about the confidential visit of the Georgian Public Defender and her representatives to a closed facility.

The Deputy Public Defender also met with Barbara Bernath, Secretary General of the Association for the Prevention of Torture(APT), and Eva Csergö, Europe and Central Asia Programe Officer. Recent reports of the National Preventive Mechanism and the following developments were discussed at the meeting.

Combating ill-treatment is one of the top priorities of the Georgian Public Defender's Office. The function of the National Preventive Mechanism makes us part of the global fight against torture. Therefore, it is important to have active cooperation and close communication with international organizations in this direction.

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