The Council of Religions of the Public Defender and the Council of National Minorities addressed the ongoing Public Defender’s selection process and emphasized that the final candidate must be independent and free from any political influence.
The organizations noted in their 28 October statement, that being aware of the Public Defender’s importance for human rights and democratic development, they believe the person who takes over the post should have extensive “experience in the protection of human rights in a public and visible way.”
Additionally, they asserted that the new Public Defender must have a high degree of competence and a deeply-held belief in protecting human rights. “The Public Defender must be a strong supporter of the rights of every human being, regardless of which group they may belong to – the majority or the minority,” they said.
In that context, they stressed that the Public Defender should be characterized by their principles and not shy away from making critical decisions that may lack the approval of the government, the majority, or any other group.
“The Public Defender must be guided by the rule of law, the Constitution, and international agreements on human rights and other rights, unwaveringly protect the rights of ethnic and religious minorities, fight against discrimination and intolerance,” they declared.
The Council concluded by expressing hope that the Parliament of Georgia will be guided by the criteria mentioned above when selecting the new Public Defender.
Timeline of the Leadup to Selecting the Public Defender:
- 01/09/2022 – Georgian Dream Will Not Nominate Public Defender Candidates, says GD MP
- 01/09/2022 – U.S. Ambassador Urges Inclusivity in Selecting Public Defender
- 09/09/2022 – Public Defender’s Office Criticizes Draft Bill on Nominating Ombudsman
- 15/09/2022 – Parliament Speaker Sets Rules for Nominating Public Defender
- 27/09/2022 – Civil Society Organizations Present Candidates for New Public Defender
- 27/09/2022 – Parliament Reveals Working Group Meant to Evaluate Public Defender Candidates
- 30/09/2022 – Parliament Releases List of Public Defender Applicants
- 10/10/2022 – Civil Society Weighs in on Public Defender Selection Process
- 11/10/2022 – Public Defender Report Met with Ruling Party Scorn
- 15/10/2022 – Review Committee Gives Top Marks to CSO-nominated Public Defender Candidates