Joint Statement of ENNHRI and Its Partners in Support of Georgia’s Public Defender
On February 21, 2020, the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI), in collaboration with its partner organizations, issued a statement in support of the Public Defender of Georgia. International organizations refer to the state’s breach of the confidentiality of the Public Defender’s prison visits, and subsequent attacks on the institution and urge the state to promptly and thoroughly investigate such cases.
“We express the concern that recentactions by the Georgian stateare in contradiction with domestic, regional and international standards. According to these standards, NHRIs and their staff should not face any form of reprisal or intimidation as a result of activities undertaken in accordance with their mandates.
The actions of the government of Georgia risk deteriorating a conducive environment for the Georgian Public Defender to carry out its work effectively and independently. The disclosure of confidential information can undermine the Public Defender’s work and may put its staff at risk. It could also have negative repercussions to prisoners with whom the Public Defender met and break the trust between them.
The statement calls on Georgian state institutions to uphold these international principles and to promptly and thoroughly investigate such cases, in cooperation with the Public Defender.
The Georgian NHRI is a highly respected institution within the broader international human rights community and has beenre-accreditedwith A-status, indicating its full compliance with theUN Paris Principles”, reads the statement.
The statement was jointly prepared by the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI), the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI),Equinet– European Network of Equality Bodies, and theUN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights DefendersMichel Forst.