EU Commission: Despite Minor Shortcomings Georgia’s Progress Substantial
The European Commission published a report on Georgia’s reform process, assessing the overall achievements of the country during the past year.
“In 2014-2015, Georgia made overall substantial progress regarding the effective implementation of human rights protection, democracy and fundamental rights. The adoption and start of implementation of the National Human Rights Strategy and Action Plan as well as of the Gender Equality Strategy and Action Plan in 2014 were particularly important and represented significant improvements in Georgia’s policy in these areas,” the report reads.
According to the document, Georgia fulfilled all the objectives set out under the 2014-2015 Human Rights Action Plan for 2014 and progresses well on the implementation of the goals planned for 2015, especially on the integration of minorities.
“In particular, there were important achievements in terms of the proper conduct of the 2014 municipal elections, increased judicial independence (including the election of a new and first female chief judge), humanization of criminal policies (reflected notably by proportionate sentences, a reduction of pre-trial detentions, a fairer plea bargaining system and the recognition of victims’ rights), progress on juvenile justice through adoption of a juvenile justice code, prison mortality reduced to a low level and an improved treatment of prisoners,” the report says.
The report also highlights the parliament’s “strengthened role”, referring to the 2014 anti-discrimination law, “a new anti discrimination mechanism that became operational in October 2014 and embedded in the public defender’s office.”
“Institutional reforms of the prosecutor’s office were launched in December 2014. Limited electoral reforms to prepare for the 2016 parliamentary elections were initiated. Moreover, the Georgian authorities started to prepare the next human rights action plan (for 2016-2017), which would cover new areas such as election rights or rights to quality education and healthcare. The first draft is being consulted with civil society at the time of writing this report,” the European Commission says.
However, the EU Commission mentioned salient shortcomings remain in several areas covered by the conventions, and further work to tackle them would be necessary in the future. “Particular attention should also be paid to media freedom and pluralism," the report reads.