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Public Defender's Report Heard by Parliamentary Committee
Civil Georgia, Tbilisi / 24 May.'11 / 22:02

Parliament will discuss Public Defender’s annual report on human rights at a session on June 14.

The report, submitted to the Parliament in late March, was discussed on May 24 by the human rights parliamentary committee.

The 519-page report, detailing Georgia’s human rights violations in 2010, highlights problems persisting in the prison system, saying that mortality rate in the penitentiary increased by 56% last year, mainly because of inadequate healthcare.

At the committee hearings on May 24, lawmakers from parliamentary minority Christian-Democratic Movement (CDM) said that cases described in the report were more than enough to call for the resignation of Khatuna Kalmakhelidze, the minister in charge of the prison system. MP Giorgi Akhvlediani of CDM also said that the same was about the minister in charge of internally displaced persons Koba Subeliani.

A senior ruling party lawmaker, Pavle Kublashvili, said that the report was “an important document”; he ruled out that the issue of responsibility of any minister would be raised.

It is most likely that the parliamentary debates on the report in June will be focused on what kind of reaction the Parliament would give to the report.

The Parliament’s usual reacting to the Public Defender’s reports is passing a resolution saying that the legislative body “takes a note” of the report.

The parliamentary minority, however, as usually calls on the ruling party to pass a resolution calling on the authorities to follow the recommendations laid out in the Public Defender’s report and investigate cases of violations detailed in the document.

Public Defender, Giorgi Tugushi, said no matter what type of resolution would be passed, the most important was fulfillment of the recommendations outlined in his report. According to him usually 30% of recommendations are being taken into consideration by the authorities.

Also on May 24, the Public Defender said that his office was studying reported cases of violation of rights during the recent protest rallies in Tbilisi and Batumi.

“As soon as we have a full picture, we will give an assessment to all those cases,” Tugushi told journalists.

He also said that representatives of the Public Defender met with those opposition activists, who have been arrested during the recent days.

People’s Assembly, an opposition movement behind the ongoing protest rallies, said that dozens of its activists were arrested prior and during the rallies as part of the authorities’ campaign “to terrorize” their supporters. Police said that fourteen people were arrested most of them in Batumi after a stone-throwing incident outside the local television station.

Tugushi condemned cases of verbal and physical insult on journalists at the protest venue outside the public broadcaster’s office and said that perpetrators should be punished no matter who they were.

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