Conference on Dignity, Freedom and Justice for All
On December 13, 2022, acting Public Defender Tamar Gvaramadze and Deputy Public Defender Ekaterine Skhiladze participated in the Conference on Dignity, Freedom and Justice for All, which was held in connection with the International Human Rights Day. The conference was organized by the European Union (EU), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
At the conference, representatives of the legislative and executive bodies of the Georgian government, the Public Defender's Office, civil society and international organizations discussed the situation of human rights in the country and vision for the future, as well as the ongoing reforms for proper realization of economic, social and cultural rights of minorities and vulnerable groups.
Speaking at the conference, acting Public Defender Tamar Gvaramadze talked about the challenges faced by human rights defenders, their role in the democratic society in terms of human rights protection, rule of law, equality and improvement of government accountability. She emphasized the need to enforce the guarantees created for their protection.
He also spoke about the statements made by high officials aimed at discrediting the civil sector, the initiative to bring the finances of non-governmental organizations under additional regulation, which may create a threat of narrowing the free space for the activities of human rights defenders in the future; numerous cases of assaults, threats and other criminal acts against human rights defenders (especially human rights defenders of women and the LGBTQI+ community); cases of restriction of freedom of assembly and obstruction of effective participation in the decision-making process. She also spoke about the threatening and hostile environment created for media representatives, which was clearly demonstrated by the violent events that took place on July 5, 2021, as a result of which more than 40 media representatives were injured.
Tamar Gvaramadze spoke about the difficulties, attacks and threats that the Public Defender and the Public Defender's Office experienced while carrying out their activities, from both the Government and radical groups. In all these cases, international human rights democratic institutions expressed their support to the Public Defender of Georgia. In addition, national human rights institutions and international organizations have been actively supporting the strengthening of the Public Defender's Office through trainings and various events for years.
Deputy Public Defender Ekaterine Skhiladze spoke about the effective realization of the economic, social and cultural rights of the minorities and vulnerable groups of Georgia, challenges and solutions.
Gvantsa Chkhaidze, Head of the Criminal Justice Department of the Public Defender’s Office, spoke about the fundamental flaws in the Administrative Offences Code and the problems identified in practice, as well as the role and results of the activity of the Public Defender’s Office in this direction, and emphasized the need for systemic changes.
Challenges and the results achieved were presented along with future plans at the conference.