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On 31 July 2014, at the extra plenary session of the Parliament, the Public Defender of Georgia presented the 2013 annual report of his office. The Chairman of the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of the Parliament, Eka Beselia, made a statement at the session: “Particular facts of rape and deprivation of life have been publicly known since 2009, and in 2010 already; however, the Parliament has issued virtually no recommendations to the government during these years. Furthermore, when I looked into the resolutions of the Parliament since 2004, I found that only in 2005 did the Parliament issue a recommendation to the Public Defender himself. Neither the Parliament nor the Committee which I now represent has sent any other recommendations to the government structures.”

The Parliamentary Majority MP, Gedevan Popkhadze, also commented upon this issue: “The 2005 report was interesting as it gave recommendations not to the government structures but to the Public Defender about how to behave. This is the practice that we abolished last year.”

We took interest in Eka Beselia’s statement and based upon the Report of the Public Defender on the Situation in the Fields of Protection of Human Rights and Liberties in Georgia looked into the resolutions adopted by the Parliament from 2004 to 2014.

FactCheck requested all the recommendations issued by the Parliament of Georgia or the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of the Parliament to the government structures from 2004 to 2014. We also used the Legislative Herald of Georgia

to look into resolutions of the Parliament on the Report of the Public Defender on the Situation in the Fields of Protection of Human Rights and Liberties in Georgia. It should be noted that in terms of the Parliament’s resolutions on the Reports of the Public Defender, no recommendations were made to the government structures from 2004 to 2012.

According to the 2006 Parliamentary resolution on the Report of the Public Defender of Georgia on the Situation in the Fields of Protection of Human Rights and Liberties in Georgia for the first part of 2005, the Public Defender himself was given a recommendation, as stated by Eka Beselia. However, it should be noted that the recommendations mainly concerned a more active role of the Public Defender in the protection of human rights and liberties. According to the resolution, the Public Defender was entrusted to:

a) Report upon the cases of the inappropriate response of the government structures upon the recommendations of the Public Defender.

b) Focus more upon the problems of women, single parents and children, analyse them and, in order to improve the legislative framework of the country, present appropriate initiatives to the Parliament.

c) Focus more upon the protection of the rights of people with disabilities and people placed in psychiatric facilities.

d) Monitor, more intensively, the conditions in the penitentiary facilities.

e) Focus more upon the violation of the rights of businessmen and property owners.

f) Actively cooperate with the Public Defenders of other countries.

Even though no recommendations were issued to the government structures, none of the Reports of the Public Defender from 2004 to 2012 remained without response.

The Parliament of Georgia adopted a resolution on the 2008 Report of the Public Defender on the Situation in the Fields of Protection of Human Rights and Liberties in Georgia. According to the resolution, the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of the Parliament was entrusted to monitor the prevention and eradication of the problems presented in the Public Defender’s Report.

Similar resolutions were adopted on the 2009, 2010 and 2011 Public Defender Reports.

The Parliament of Georgia issued various recommendations to the government structures in 2013 and 2014. According to the resolution of the Parliament on the 2012 Report of the Public Defender on the Situation in the Fields of Protection of Human Rights and Liberties in Georgia, the Parliament shared the recommendations given to the central and local governments and sent them to the following structures: Ministry of Corrections of Georgia, Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, Ministry of Justice of Georgia, the Main Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia; Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Protection of Georgia, Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Accommodation and Refugees of Georgia; Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources Protection of Georgia, Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia and the local government structures.

The Parliament also considered the 2013 recommendations of the Public Defender and, as in 2012, issued its own recommendations to the Ministries and the Main Prosecutor’s Office of Georgia.

Conclusion

From 2004 to 2012 the Parliament of Georgia adopted the resolutions on the Reports of the Public Defender on the Situation in the Fields of Protection of Human Rights and Liberties in Georgia, calling upon the Human Rights and Civil Integration Committee of the Parliament to monitor the prevention and eradication of the problems presented in the Public Defender’s aforementioned Reports. However, the Parliament has sent virtually no recommendations about the Public Defender’s Reports to the government from 2004 to 2012, as stated by Eka Beselia. In 2005, the Public Defender himself was given a recommendation from the Parliament; however, these recommendations mainly concerned a more active role of the Public Defender in the protection of human rights and liberties.

In 2013 and 2014, after the new government assumed office, the Parliament of Georgia issued various recommendations to the government structures based upon the Reports of the Public Defender.

FactCheck concludes that Eka Beselia’s statement: “In 2005, the Parliament issued a recommendation to the Public Defender himself. Neither the Parliament nor the Committee which I now represent has sent any recommendations to the government structures,” is MOSTLY TRUE.