TBILISI, DFWatch – The Georgian Public Defender on Thursday presented his annual report on human rights in the country.
Among the most important problems is conditions in the prison and penitentiary system in Georgia, where human rights are often violated, according to Public Defender Giorgi Tughushi.
40 percent of dead prisoners last year had different types of bodily injuries.
“Limb, rib, nose fractures and of course, prisoners couldn’t affect themselves with such injuries. However these injuries may not be the direct cause of their death, but unfortunately, investigators werren’t interested in such cases,” he said.
He says that despite several positive changes, the problems which Public Defender highlighted in 2010 are still acute in 2011, 300 pages out of the 645 of the report are about problems in the prison system, he said.
Another problem which is described in detail in the report is health-care and insurance in the country. If a person gets ill, this may throw his or her family into poverty, Tughushi says.
“Very often people don’t have insurance, because insurance in Georgia is very expensive. If one doesn’t have insurance and suffers from any serious illness, his family may become poor.”
The report shows a picture of a difficult social and economic situation for people in Georgia.
At a press conference on Thursday, the Public Defender told journalists that the rights of internally displaced persons and refugees is one of the priorities of the public defender’s office, adding that the ombudsman has received a large number of complaints from this group in 2011.
There is a chapter about journalists in the report. Tughushi says the events of May 26 2011 also are covered in the report. On May 26, police dispersed a peaceful anti-government rally in front of the parliament building, using violence and also violating rights of journalists.
“Fourteen policemen were punished and four lost their jobs, but it’s not enough. The actions of some policemen had signs of being criminal during the dispersal of a rally on May 26,” Tughushi says.
The report also describes problems in other areas of society like education, minority rights, women and children rights, the condition of people affected during conflict, and the labor market.