POLITICS
US’ 2018 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices about Georgia
14 March, 2019
While the constitution and law prohibit torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment there were reports government officials employed them - it is said in the 2018 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices released by the US Department of State.

According to the report, in its May report to parliament for 2017, the Public Defender’s Office (PDO)stated that effectively combating torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment remained “one of
the most important challenges of the country.”

“The PDO reported it asked the Office of the Chief Prosecutor to investigate 72 allegations of such mistreatment by police officers and prison staff between 2013- 17; of these, the prosecutor’s office did not identify any perpetrators according to the PDO. The PDO reported an increase in the number of cases of mistreatment by police it referred to the CPO in 2017 and an increase in 2017 in the rate of injuries sustained by individuals admitted to temporary detention facilities and during or after administrative arrests,” the report reads.

According to the Department of State, the Public Defender’s Office continued to consider the existing system of investigation into alleged torture and other mistreatment by law enforcement officials neither effective nor independent.

“NGOs and the PDO continued to recommend the creation of an independent mechanism to investigate allegations of misconduct. They also continued to call for greater oversight of security officials. The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) reported it submitted six complaints of cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment from inmates in penitentiary facilities to the CPO for investigation,” the report reads.

Acceding to the report, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) observers described the first round of the presidential elections in October as competitive and professionally administered, although they raised concerns including the lack of a level playing field, voter intimidation, and fear of retribution.

The report reads that OSCE observers repeated these concerns after the second round in November and assessed that the candidates “were able to campaign in a free environment; however, one side enjoyed an undue advantage and the negative character of the campaign on both sides undermined the process.”

“While civilian authorities maintained effective control of the Ministry of Defense, there were indications that at times they did not maintain effective control of domestic security forces.

Human rights issues included an allegation of an unjustified killing by security forces; arbitrary detentions and deprivation of life by Russian and de facto authorities of the country’s citizens along the administrative boundary lines (ABLs) with the Russian-occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia; unlawful interference with privacy; allegations of high level corruption of government officials; and crimes involving violence or threats targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) persons.

The government took steps to investigate some allegations of human rights abuses, but shortcomings remained,” the report reads.

According to the report, de facto authorities in the Russian-occupied Georgian regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia remained outside central government control and were supported by several thousand Russian troops and border guards occupying the areas. A ceasefire remained in effect since 2008. Russian border guards restricted the movement. The report underlines that while there was little official information on the human rights and humanitarian situation in South Ossetia due to limited access, allegations of abuse persisted.

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