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President Zurabishvili Speaks Georgia at ILO Conference

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Salome Zurabishvili, President of Georgia, who is visiting Geneva, Switzerland on June 10-11, spoke about her country’s achievements and challenges today at an international labor conference held in Geneva.

The conference marking the 100th anniversary of International Labor Organization (ILO), brings together world leaders to “reaffirm their commitment to the principle of social justice” on June 10-21.

In her opening remarks, the President Zurabishvili said the country’s new constitution guarantees economic and labor rights of its citizens, and that the Labor Code is also “continuously improved to harmonize with the principles of ILO and EU regulations and best practices.”

She said the adoption of the new Law on Occupational Safety is among the most recent achievements, which “establishes high standards of protection, effective sanctions, enhances the mandate of labor inspection and aims to change the working culture.”

President Zurabishvili also hailed Georgia’s adoption of the Law on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination as well as its introducing the definition and instituting prohibition of sexual harassment.

“Equal opportunities and equal treatment of men and women are the principles that require constant attention. I, as the first female President of Georgia, consider those as my special responsibility;  the legislation needs refining in this regard, including wage gap, collective redundancies, fixed-duration or temporary employment relationships, and certain aspects of the organization of working time,” Zurabishvili stated.

The President then spoke about Georgia’s high unemployment rate, its lack of skilled workers, work safety as well as illegal migration as some of the challenges. She also referred to “severe security, human rights and humanitarian situation” in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, where “labor rights are no exception.”

“There is ongoing military build-up, closure of the so-called crossing points, illegal detentions and kidnapping along the occupation line; intensified ethnically-targeted human rights violations, deprivation of the right to life, prohibition of education in native Georgian language, as well as Abkhaz or Ossetian languages through an active policy of Russification, restriction of rights to freedom of movement, residence, and property,” she told the audience.

On the sidelines of the conference, Salome Zurabishvili met with President of Cyprus Nicos Anastasiades and Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg. She also held meetings with Director-General of ILO Guy Ryder, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.

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This post is also available in: ქართული (Georgian) Русский (Russian)

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