Public Defender Nominates Tamar Mearkishvili for Human Rights Prizes

In April 2018, Public Defender Nino Lomjaria nominated Tamar Mearkishvili, Akhalgori based activist, for the United Nations Human Rights Prize and Václav Havel Human Rights Prize for her outstanding contribution to defending the rights of conflict-affected population.

Activist and blogger Tamar Mearkishvili has been reporting difficult rights situation in the occupied town of Akhalgori and violation of the rights of local population by the de facto authorities, at the risk of putting her own life, health and safety in danger.

According to international organizations, the occupied region of South Ossetia/Tskhinvali is one of the most difficult regions in the world in terms of human rights and security; NGOs were closed amidst pressure; the de facto government fully controls the media; opposition and civil activists are regularly persecuted. Under these conditions, it should be emphasized that despite intimidation, pressure and threats, Tamar Mearkishvili has been the only person fighting for the protection of freedom of expression and speech, right to life and security and many other rights of the Akhalgori population. Tamar Mearkishvili's interviews and blogs are the only source of information about the difficult situation in Akhalgori.

In 2017, she faced illegal detention twice. At present, criminal proceedings are underway against her in two separate cases. She has been deprived of her ID documents and despite her difficult health condition, she is unable to travel to Georgia controlled territory for the treatment. The Public Defender of Georgia considers that the process against Tamar Mearkishvili is an attempt of the de facto authorities to silence her and force her to leave her hometown.

The Public Defender urges the Georgian government to pay utmost attention to Tamar Mearkishvili and her family’ social situation and to protect their rights.

By nominating for the United Nations and Václav Havel Human Rights Prizes, the Public Defender is expressing her gratitude to Tamar Mearkishvili for her contribution to the protection of the rights of conflict-affected population. The Public Defender believes that Tamar Mearkishvili is a role model for all activists and human rights defenders.

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