The Daily Beat: 2 February
Parents of insulin-dependent children gathered at the Ministry of Health, protesting the shortage of insulin shots. Parents, citing the Ministry of Health, say that the delayed procurement left up to 1,500 insulin-dependent children at risk. Protesters were allowed inside the ministry building after a brief skirmish. They were asking to urgently meet senior officials. The Minister assured the parents the medication will be available starting February 4. Parents complained to the Minister that problems like the supply of needle heads for insulin pens and the provision of high-quality sensory glucometers remain unresolved.
EU Parliament held an urgent debate on Mikheil Saakashvili’s condition, with MEPs expressing extreme concern over his deteriorating health. MEPs reminded the Georgian government of its bearing responsibility. Commissioner Johannes Hahn stressed that the EU is keeping a close eye on Saakashvili’s court hearings and health-related developments.
Moldova’s President, Maia Sandu, publicly appealed to the Georgian authorities to immediately release Saakashvili and send him abroad for medical treatment. “Torturing an opposition leader to death is unacceptable for a country that wants to join the EU,” twitted Sandu.
Ukraine’s MFA followed up on President Volodymyr Zelensky’s statement and appealed to foreign governments and international organizations to protect the life of Saakashvili as a Ukrainian citizen. In its statement, the MFA of Ukraine compared Georgian authorities’ methods to those of NKVD (precursor of KGB) of the USSR and said that “gross violation of human rights against the Ukrainian citizen goes against the declared course of Tbilisi towards the EU membership and is an evidence of democracy limiting in Georgia.”
The latest NDI public opinion polls showed high support for the country’s EU and NATO integration. Support for the EU stands at 81% after dipping to 75% in the previous year, while 73% of Georgians continue to support NATO membership. Polls also indicated growing dissatisfaction with politics. A considerable drop in support for the largest opposition party, the UNM, was offset by a 10 percentage-point rise in satisfaction with government performance. NDI, a U.S.-founded non-profit, released a new public opinion poll on February 2.
Award of the Day
Nino Lomjaria, the former Public Defender of Georgia, and her team received a prestigious Global Human Rights Defender Award by the US State Department. Lomjaria is among ten winners who have demonstrated leadership and courage while promoting and defending human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as countering and exposing human rights abuses by governments and businesses.