A large group of Georgian civil society organizations have urged the European Union to extend mission of its special adviser for legal reforms and human rights in Georgia, Thomas Hammarberg.
Hammarberg, who was Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner in 2006-2012, was appointed by the European Commission as the EU's Special Adviser for Legal and Constitutional Reform and Human Rights in Georgia in February, 2013.
In an open letter to the European Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle on June 13, sixty six members of Georgia’s Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum praised Hammarberg’s mission as “a vigilant observer, reacting promptly to every major problem in the field of human rights and urging Georgia’s new authorities to stay loyal to the principles of democracy and rule of law.”
“After the upcoming local government elections [on June 15], Georgia will enter a new phase of transition when the gains made in recent years in terms of the development of a multi-party democratic system will have to be consolidated if the country is to move closer to Europe,” reads the open letter.
“Georgia will undoubtedly face a number of serious challenges in this process and significant efforts will have to be made to strengthen the rule of law and ensure protection of human rights. Georgian Government still faces numerous challenges related to the constitutional reform, operations of the law enforcement bodies, reformation of the judiciary. Special attention should be paid to the protection of minority rights.”
“It is only natural that there will be space for recommendations related to the areas mentioned above. At the same time, the EU will need to have up-to-date information about how Georgia follows and implements the commitments undertaken by the EU-Georgia Association Agreement and will need to assess the country’s progress on the way of building its democratic institutions,” it says.