Public Defender Echoes Ongoing Constitutional Reform

In December 2016, the Parliament of Georgia approved regulations and composition of the State Constitutional Commission. Members of the Commission, apart from the Public Defender, are majority MPs, government officials, experts, representative of the judiciary, the opposition and non-governmental organizations. The aim of the Commission is to draft a bill on the revision of the Constitution, adoption of which would bring the Constitution of Georgia in conformity with the fundamental principles of the constitutional law and create a constitutional system relevant to the interests of the country's long-term democratic development.

The Public Defender, within the framework of the State Constitutional Commission, raises important issues, such as creation of real constitutional mechanisms for perfect realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The Public Defender of Georgia considers that it is important the Constitution to reflect social rights in detail and effective constitutional safeguards to be provided against violation of the rights. In particular, the Public Defender considers that the Constitution should include a record on creation of a state supervisory body for effective implementation of labor rights. The severity of violation of labor rights for decades indicates that it is necessary to create a constitutional supervisory body for eradication and prevention of the violations.

It is also noteworthy that the Public Defender has submitted a proposal to the State Constitutional Commission, according to which, creation of an independent investigative mechanism must be provided by the Constitution. The issue has been mentioned by various non-governmental organizations, as well as by the Public Defender in his reports for years. Creation of an independent investigative mechanism has been the subject of a number of recommendations of international organizations as well. The Constitution should provide for the creation of such a mechanism, as it is necessary condition for the prevention and eradication of torture and ill-treatment by law enforcement authorities.

The Public Defender has proposed the integration of the provision relating to the Internet freedom in Article 24 of the Constitution of Georgia. The role and importance of the Internet are invaluable in a free and democratic society. The resolution of the UN Human Rights Council has recognized Internet access as a fundamental right and it is important the Constitution of Georgia to include a record about the Internet freedom.

In addition to the mentioned issues, the Public Defender has addressed the State Constitutional Commission to expand the authority of the Constitutional Court. The Public Defender considers that the authority of the Constitutional Court should go beyond the model of controlling the norms and should carry out constitutional control on the basis of a real claim, in order to check the constitutionality of the decisions of common courts and individual legal acts.

The Public Defender of Georgia considers that for institutional strengthening it is important the Constitution to provide for safeguards against the instability of Public Defender’s budget. In addition, he thinks that the inviolability of the Public Defender should be strengthenedat the level of the Constitution.

Finally, the Public Defender considers that in the light of the existing inequality and discrimination against women, it is important the State Constitutional Commission to grant advantage to consideration of initiatives concerning gender equality.

The Public Defender hopes that the constitutional reform will be successfully carried out and it will significantly improve the human rights situation in the country.

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