Public Defender of Georgia Holds Official Meetings in Washington

On October 11-13, 2022, Public Defender Nino Lomjaria paid an official visit to Washington, where she held meetings with high officials of the US Senate, the Presidential Administration and the Department of State, as well as heads of international organizations.

According to the Public Defender, the main message of our American partners is that the United States of America will unwaveringly stand by Georgia, as long as the Georgian people are willing to receive assistance in the process of democratic development.

The topics of discussion at the meetings held in Washington were the strong support of Georgian society for the country's European and NATO integration, as well as the implementation of democratic reforms in the process of Euro-Atlantic integration. The strengthening of anti-Western, anti-democratic propaganda and rhetoric in Georgia in recent years, the ongoing attacks against the non-governmental sector and the US Ambassador were emphasized at the meeting. "During the past year, anti-democratic, anti-Western, anti-human rights political forces have become very strong in Georgia. As a counterweight to this, democratic actors need more support and assistance," the Public Defender of Georgia said after the meetings.

The Public Defender spoke about the issues of justice, systemic flaws of wiretapping and surveillance; the hostile and in some cases violent environment for the activities of journalists and human rights defenders.

The Public Defender drew attention to the issue of massive and illegal emigration of Georgian citizens to the USA, their arrests during crossing the border, and the reports about improper conditions in the places of detention. The Public Defender and representatives of the Department of State agreed that they will cooperate to protect the rights of people emigrated from Georgia.

Nino Lomjaria thanked the representatives of the state and international structures for the great assistance provided to the Public Defender’s Office and asked them to continue their unwavering support to the democratic institutions and actors of Georgia for the implementation of democratic reforms.

As part of her official visit to Washington, the Public Defender met with Karen Donfried,Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, and Erin M. Barclay, Senior Bureau Official at theBureau of Democracy, HumanRights and Labour.

A meeting was held at the White House with Matthew Eussen, Director for SouthernEuropeand South Caucasus Region at the National Security Council.

The Public Defender also met with Chris Socha, Staff Director at U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, Senior Staff Officer Hannah Thoburn, Political Analyst Joseph Bigan, as well as Senate Foreign Policy Adviser Thomas Melia. The progress of democratic reforms and basic human rights challenges in the process of European integration were discussed during the meetings.

At the meeting held with Dr. Alexander Sokolovsky at the US Development Agency (USAID), the Public Defender thanked the Agency for the support provided to the Public Defender's Office; they also reviewed the ongoing G2G project and challenges in the field of human rights and the rule of law in Georgia.

Meetings were held with Stephen Nix, Regional Programme Director for Eurasia at the International Republican Institute (IRI); with Melissa Celine Muscio, Senior Programme Director for Eurasia at the National Democratic Institute (NDI); as well as Miriam Lanskoy, Senior DirectorforRussiaandEurasiaat theNational EndowmentforDemocracy.

The Public Defender was accompanied by her Deputies, Tamar Gvaramadze and Giorgi Burjanadze, during her official visit to the United States of America.

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