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The Daily Beat: 21 April

Parents of children with achondroplasia and their supporters gathered to protest in front of the prime minister’s newly fenced office. They spoke out against the uncertainty and reluctance of health authorities to cover the costs of “Vosoritide” drugs used to treat achondroplasia, unsuccessfully demanding a meeting with the prime minister. The health minister and his deputies question the effectiveness and cite the increased risks of the drug, saying that the final decision to import the drug will be made after more detailed information is received from partner countries’ health authorities and the World Health Organization.

The survey revealed that more than a third of children in Georgia face material or social deprivation. According to the survey conducted by the national statistics office with support from UNICEF, despite a substantial increase in the number of children and the amount received under the child benefit program, “38% of children in Georgia are affected by material and social deprivations.” Moreover, almost half of the materially deprived children (47%) do not benefit from the program, supposedly because their families do not meet the criteria of the child benefit program.

International human rights and press freedom organizations addressed Georgia’s president Salome Zurabishvili with a letter urging her to release opposition journalist and TV manager Nika Gvaramia from prison. In a letter addressed to the president, international non-governmental organizations emphasized the importance of free and independent media in a democratic society and called on the president to take action, contributing to the country’s EU advance. The letter also reads that President Zurabishvili is seen as “committed to upholding Georgia’s global standing” and fully understands the worrying trend of “the retaliatory jailing of a journalist” for her country.

Defense Minister Juansher Burchuladze arrived in Germany to participate in a so-called Ramstein group meeting. The meeting is led by the US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and attended by defense ministers and senior military officials from around 50 countries. According to the defense ministry, the participants of the “Rammstein format” discussed the situation in Ukraine and the military assistance to the country. “At today’s meeting, several countries confirmed the delivery of promised military assistance to Ukraine,” the ministry announced. The discussions at the US Ramstein Airbase in Germany, marking the first anniversary of the format, also touched on the security challenges facing US allies and partners.

Transparency International Georgia (TI Georgia) indicates shortcomings in the law on fighting corruption. A local watchdog released the Analysis of the Law on the Fight against Corruption, in which it hails the establishment of a centralized anti-corruption body as a positive step but notes that the law falls short in “assigning an investigative function to the independent Anti-corruption Bureau, leaving the task of investigating corruption-related crimes solely to the state security service and the prosecutor’s office.” TI Georgia also noted that appointment of the head of the bureau by the prime minister is problematic because it “cannot ensure the genuine independence of the institution.

The state security service reported the release of the Georgian national who was illegally detained by the Russian occupying forces near the Tskhinvali occupation line a few days ago. A released person is already transferred to the Tbilisi-controlled territory. The state security service said that Georgian side actively used all mechanisms at its disposal, including the hotline, to secure prompt and safe release.


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