Equinet, the European Network of National Human Rights Institutes (ENNHRI), the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), and the International Ombudsman Institute (IOI) have issued a joint statement in support of the Public Defender (Ombudsman) of Georgia, the country’s national equality body, after recent verbal attacks and threats by prominent politicians.
The hostile statements, triggered by the Public Defender’s human rights work, included discrediting the institution, threatening experts with legal actions, derogatory remarks towards staff, and questioning the institution’s mandate and powers. In this joint statement, we express serious concern that these continued verbal attacks, as well as undue interference or threats regarding the discharge of the institution’s broad mandate, contribute to a deteriorating environment for the Public Defender to carry out its work effectively and independently.
The Public Defender is a highly respected institution within the broader international human rights community and a long-standing and highly valued member of Equinet, ENNHRI, GANHRI, and the IOI. We call on the Georgian Government and Parliament to uphold the international principles calling for the protection of institutions, such as the Georgian Public Defender, against intimidation, threats or any actions that may negatively impact on their independence and effectiveness.Read the full joint statement here