“We must make the government to joyfully implement the joyfully accepted international recommendations,” Tamar Gurchiani, lawyer of the Georgian Young Lawyers Association said at the meeting held in the Georgian Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on 27-28 March. Representatives of media and non-governmental organizations participated in the discussion dedicated to the international standards of human rights.
Vladimir Shkolnikov, Senior Human Rights Advisor to the High Commissioner for Human Rights made a speech on the recommendations for Universal Periodic Revision (UPR).
UPR was created on 15 March 2006. By the given mechanism the Human Rights Council received a mandate to periodically review the human rights conditions at the territories of UN member countries and issue coinciding recommendations. First recommendations were sent toGeorgiain 2011;Georgiatook responsibility to implement 144 recommendations and refused 17.
European countries are interested along with human rights problems to solve freedom of expression and media problems inGeorgia. For example, theNetherlandsrecommendGeorgiato actively promote freedom of press, including public information availability and to insure relevant investigation of all complaints and lawsuits received on the given issue. The given recommendation has been accepted by the government ofGeorgia.
According to Vladimir Shkolnikov, implementing of recommendations is voluntary and depends on the good will of every country.
“A country has a right not to accept recommendations, but if it does, they must be implemented; this is the issue of international reputation,” Shkolnikov stressed.
On 30 August 2011 Georgian government took another obligation on transparency of governmental bodies by joining Barack Obama’s initiative – Open Government Partnership. According to Tamar Gurchiani, President Mikheil Saakashvili has made a promise that by introducing new technologies the government would become more accountable and transparent.
“Still, the government is not fulfilling the main principle of the project – it does not conduct consultations with the public and in the process only three non-governmental bodies are involved – International Transparency Georgia, Georgian Young Lawyers Association and Institute for Development of the Freedom of Information,” Tamar Gurchiani stressed. “Civil society must be more active in order for the recommendations, or obligations to be fully implemented,” she stressed.
Intermediate meeting of the OGP is scheduled to be held inBrazilin several weeks at whichGeorgiais to present a report on already implemented activities in view of transparency of State bodies.
According to international surveys the situation with availability of public information in GEORGIAis not too grave. For example, Access Info Europe published a survey last year, according to whichGeorgia is on the second place afterNew Zealand by means of availability of budgetary information.
According to the Chairman of the Council of the Charter of Journalistic Ethics Zviad Koridze, situation inside the country is different. He presumes that adoption of the Law on Informational Security will significantly limit access to information.
“We also have amendments made to the Law on State Secret. We are facing a reality in which from abroad Georgiais seen as a transparent country, while inside the country the situation is radically different,” Koridze stressed.