Ombudsman reviews current state of human rights protection in Georgia

Public Defender Nino Lomjaria held a press conference on the state of human rights. Photo: Ombudsman., 08 Dec 2018 - 17:20, Tbilisi,Georgia

Public Defender of Georgia Nino Lomjaria held a press conference before releasing her office’s annual report on the state of human rights in Georgia.

During her speech, Lomjaria touched broadly on civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and focused on positive and negative trends identified in the field of human rights. Lomjaria ended her press conference by summarising her office’s key recommendations to further develop human rights in the country.

Protecting women’s rights, gender equality and children’s rights remains some of the biggest challenges facing Georgia", Lomjaria said.

Right to life

The report touched on the Khorava murder case, when two 16-year-old boys were killed in downtown Tbilisi on 1 December 2017 in the result of a street fight. Lomjaria says the case has not been effectively investigated.

The Ombudsman also mentioned Machalikashvili’s case, when a 19-year-old terrorist suspect was injured and later died after a counter terrorist operation in the Pankisi region.

The fathers of the boys, Zaza Saralidze and Malkhaz Machalikashvili, are holding demonstrations demanding the government probe the investigation of the murder cases.

Lomjaria reports that the government is obliged to conduct an adequate investigation and take into consideration the ombudsman’s recommendations.

Public Defender stated people living in Georgia’s occupied regions are deprived of a range of opportunities and their fundamental human rights, such as the right to health, life, education and free movement, are continually violated.

Rights of people with disabilities

Lomjaria touched on the rights of people with disabilities as well.

This year, the government allocated funds to improve living conditions for people with disabilities, however noted that it remains a pressing issue in the country.

Lomjaria said the quality of education and employment opportunities remain a great challenge for people with disabilities.

Gender rights

Gender-based violence against women, domestic violence, early marriages, honor killings, women’s reproductive health still remain major problems in Georgia.

However, the ombudsman noted, the Ministry of Internal Affairs has made important steps towards improving the situation for women.

Received complaints show that women, LGBT individuals and persons with disabilities experience discrimination more often than others. Women often face sexual harassment.

Children’s rights

Despite recent reforms, the Ombudsman’s office says that children’s rights issues are still widespread in the country. Poverty, poor family conditions, lack of education are also unresolved issues.

Conditions in prisons and psychiatric hospitals

In comparison to previous years, the government has improved conditions in prisons and temporary detention centres, Lomjaria said, although lack of rehabilitation activities still remains as a problem.

Lomjaria also mentioned psychiatric hospitals during her speech, where several incidents of inhumane treatment had been reported.

On the other hand, Lomjaria praised the government for restoring the Surami hospital and recommended that conditions in Khoni and Bediani psychiatric hospitals also be improved.

Work safety

Safety in the workplace remains a major issue as well – in 2018, 77 people were injured and 35 died as a result of poor safety standards. Lomjaria did mention that the government is working to fix the situation.

Socio-economic problems

Housing projects for refugees are moving with satisfactory momentum, Lomjaria said, though numerous people continue to live in precarious buildings and in poverty – providing refugees with accommodations should be the government’s priority.

Problems occur in health care too. High prices for medicines cause difficulties for citizens. The socio-economic state of old people is deprived in the report as ‘deplorable’. Most of them live in poverty and adequate accommodations and social services are unaffordable – the same can be said of mandatory military servicemen.

Environmental problems

Environment pollution and green space preservation is quite a sensitive topic for the country, Lomjaria said – the Ombudsman recommends the government pay more attention to this issue.


As of 11 months of 2018, the Public Defender’s office has received 7,350 statements, 8,089 calls and 3,395 people applied to the office for help.