Meeting with Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights

Today, Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili met with Dunja Mijatović, Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights. The conversation focused on the Georgian Government’s efforts toward protecting human rights. Irakli Garibashvili thanked Dunja Mijatović for the contribution of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in cementing human rights and democratic development in Georgia, also pointing out that Georgia remains committed to the key priority of protecting fundamental human rights.

One of the key priorities of the Government is to ensure a healthy environment for every citizen, the Prime Minister emphasized, and more than one far-reaching reform has been implementing on top of coming through with the obligations under the EU-Georgia Association Agreement and multilateral arrangements. In recent years, along with the adoption of the Law of Georgia on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, important legislative amendments were made as well.

According to Irakli Garibashvili, the first Unified Human Rights Strategy was approved by Georgia in 2014. Based on the report by Thomas Hammarberg on Georgia’s human rights state of affairs, this strategy covered a period from 2014 to 2020. Now, the Government Administration—in cooperation with the Office of the Public Defender, NGOs, and international partners—is working on the second Human Rights Strategy for 2022-2030.

Last year, in cooperation with the UN’s agencies, the Office of the Public Defender, and the civil sector, the Government Administration established the Interagency Coordination Committee for the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, an institution accountable to the Government of Georgia and in charge of the implementation of international and local obligations pertaining to the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities, including recommendations from the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Irakli Garibashvili underlined that freedom of expression and freedom of the press are prioritized by the Georgian Government, guaranteed by the Constitution of Georgia, and enshrined in various national-level legal documents. According to him, the Government remains committed to ensuring freedom of the press, transparency, and pluralism, with progress in this direction evidenced by Georgia’s leading positions in international rankings.

The conversation also revolved around the dire humanitarian and human rights situation in Georgia’s occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali. Irakli Garibashvili thanked Dunja Mijatović for supporting Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, and reiterated the Georgian Government’s commitment to the policy of peaceful conflict-resolution.

The Prime Minister and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights also discussed the security environment and relevant challenges in Eastern Europe. Irakli Garibashvili emphasized that Russia’s steps toward the occupation of Ukraine and Georgia undermine Europe’s security and rules-based international order.

The meeting at the Government Administration was attended by Deputy to the Director of the Office of the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Claudia Lam, Commissioner’s Adviser Olena Petsun, Head of the Council of Europe Office in Georgia Natalia Voutova, Georgian First Deputy Foreign Minister Lasha Darsalia, Prime Minister’s Human Rights Adviser Niko Tatulashvili, and Permanent Representative of Georgia to the Council of Europe Irakli Giviashvili.