Proposal for the Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia
On August 16, 2014, the Public Defender of Georgia addressed the Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia with a proposal regarding the issue of accessibility of healthcare and social programmers for population living on the occupied territories.
It came to the knowledge of the Public Defender of Georgia that in several cases citizens with Ossetian and Abkhazian passports were refused social benefits.
The Public Defender believes that the Georgian government has an obligation to protect rights of indigenous residents of the conflict regions and ensure their accessibility to social programmes notwithstanding of non-possession of a document confirming citizenship of Georgia. For this purpose it is necessary to prepare changes in the Decree N45 of March 1, 2013 and the Decree N291 of April 14, 2014 of the Georgian Government that will allow Abkhazian and Ossetian citizens to receive social benefits with Abkhazian and Osseitan passports.
In addition, the Public Defender’s office studied the issue of availability of healthcare programme for residents of the regions afflicted by the conflict and found significant shortcomings. Namely, persons with Georgian citizenship residing in Abkhazia (mainly population of Gali district), in most cases are unable to enjoy free healthcare service offered by the Georgian Government. The Ministry of health is offering them to enroll in the general healthcare programme that implies co-financing of treatment. Given the difficult social-economic and security conditions of the Gali population, placing Georgian citizens living in Abkhazia and citizens living on the territory of the rest of Georgia in equal conditions and offering the former General healthcare programme is inappropriate and inadequate due to their conditions and occupation-related problems.
The Public Defender of Georgia called on the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs to prepare changes in Governmental decree “On formation of the commission and determining its activity procedures with the purpose of reaching a decision on relevant medical service within referral service” in order to make similar practice towards all residents of the occupied territories obligatory.