International organizations criticize the President
The international organizations are trying to influence President Shevardnadze to force him implement reforms in the law enforcing structures and prevent facts of violation of the human rights in Georgia.
On November 19 International Federation of the Human Rights addresses President Shevardnadze with a public letter regarding numerous facts of violation of rights of the religious minorities. The letter criticizes actions against independent media and freedom of speech.
The letter tackles the issue of 250 000 Georgian IDPs as well. The state has failed to protect their rights so far. Issues such as definition of the status of Abkhazia, return of the refugees to their homeland and compensation of their property lost in 1992-1994 are not solved yet. The letter underlines regret of the Parliamentary Assembly of the European Council regarding absence of progress in these processes. Resolution of the Assembly adopted in September 2001 says, “Georgia is far from honouring its obligations and commitments as a member state of the Council of Europe.”
This is not a first time when Georgian President receives letter, containing recommendations of the international organizations. Letter of the Human Rights Watch addressed to President Shevardnadze on November 9 says that Georgian power structures do know who is offending the religious minorities, especially Jehovah’s Witnesses, but do nothing to eliminate such an actions. The author of the letter Elizabeth Anderson, Executive Director of the Europe and Central Asia Division, is alarmed by the fact of participation of the policemen in these attacks.
“As you are now appointing a new government, we urge you to set a clear, firm, and urgent agenda for your appointees to the posts of minister of internal affairs, procurator general, and minister of national security to end the mob assaults on non-Orthodox Christian believers” – says the letter.
While delivering the program speech to the Parliament candidate to the post of Interior Minister Koba Narchemashvili promised to give a special attention to the protection of the human rights in Georgia. However, chairman of the Parliament’s Committee for the Human Rights Elene Tevdoradze does not trust his statement, believing that Narchemashvili is unable to implement significant reforms of the Ministry.
Tevdoradze say that the President is not considering recommendations by the international organizations. “If President ignores these demands, people’s support to him will not decrease but wont’ increase either. Actually he looses nothing” – says Tevdoradze.
Human Rights Watch sent a letter to George W. Bush prior to Shevardnadze’s visit to the United States in October this year, bringing attention of the American President to the fact that the Georgian Government and Police are facilitating to the violation of human rights.
The letter expressed a hope that the American President would remind Shevardnadze that all states in the world should fight against religious intolerance.
Press secretary of the President of Georgia Kakha Imnadze says that he knows nothing about above-mentioned letters. As he says, the American side did not express any kind of concern regarding the protection of the human rights in Georgia during the meeting of the two presidents.
Regarding the recommendations of the international organizations, which actually have more demanding form, Kakha Imnadze says that none of the international organizations have the right to interfere into the internal policy of any state. “Human rights are defined by the Constitution of Georgia and it does not depend on the existence of an organization called “Human Rights Watch” – says the press-secretary.
By Salome Jashi, Civil Georgia