skip to content

U.S. Amb. on Public Defender, Saakashvili

While attending a USAID Public Defender event on 1 December, U.S. Ambassador Kelly Degnan emphasized the role of the Public Defender as “one of the most challenging and most important jobs in any democracy.”

She noted that the Public Defender is responsible for protecting human rights, which sometimes means “that the government or others are not happy with the Public Defender because that job is to speak truth to authority in defending the rights of citizens of Georgia and improving the systems and institutions that Georgia is building for its democracy.”

“It is a job that takes tremendous courage, integrity, independence, and dedication,” Ambassador Degnan underscored.

In reference to the current Public Defender Nino Lomjaria – whose term in office is set to expire on 9 December – Amb. Degnan asserted that the U.S. is “very proud” of its support for Lomjaria and her team in helping the Office “strengthen its systems to be more responsive to the needs of Georgian citizens, to be better able and equipped to meet its constitutional obligation to protect and defend the human rights of every Georgian citizen.”

Noting the impressive “range of work” that the Public Defender’s Office has accomplished in the last five years, and the amount of “significant improve” that it has made Amb. Degnan nevertheless noted that “there are also areas that need continued work.” “I know that the next Public Defender will take that on,” she added.

In that context, she expressed hope that the ongoing process for selecting the new Public Defender “will produce a qualified, independent, dedicated professional who has the courage to speak truth to power, and to represent the people of Georgia the way Nino Lomjaria and her team have done.”

Mikheil Saakashvili’s Health

Asked about imprisoned ex-President Mikheil Saakashvili’s ailing health, Amb. Degnan stated, “We are continuing to monitor his situation very closely.” “We are going through the recent reports just like others are,” she added.

The Ambassador emphasized that “the main thing is that the government takes whatever steps are necessary based on this new information.”

“We’ve all been waiting for credible, reliable medical conclusions as to Mr. Saakashvili’s health before anybody can know what is the best course of action,” she noted.

“As the United States has said repeatedly, it is important to ensure that Mr. Saakashvili receives the medical care that he needs and that his human rights are respected,” she underscored, adding that they will continue to “advocate for the government to take appropriate steps based on this recently released medical information.”

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


Back to top button