SUKHUM / AQW'A ― The Human Rights Commissioner, Asida Shakryl, presented her annual report to Parliament on the activities of her office in 2022.
In her report, Shakryl did not focus on systemic human rights violations, which had been addressed in previous reports for 2018-2019, 2020, and 2021. Instead, she highlighted violations that had not been addressed by executive and legislative bodies despite her recommendations.
Shakryl urged responsible agencies to start discussing the content of her previous reports, which provide a detailed analysis of human rights violations and recommendations for their elimination. She also raised concerns about the difficulties her office encountered when dealing with government structures, particularly with the Prosecutor's Office and courts.
The report touched on several issues, including the prevention of torture, protection of the rights of persons in detention, the prohibition of unlawful use of firearms by law enforcement officers, the revision of the absolute ban on abortions, and the full realization of the right to access justice. Shakryl also discussed the need for changes to several legislative acts related to the energy crisis, social protection, and pension systems.
The report also highlighted the problems faced by Georgian nationals living in the eastern regions of Abkhazia, particularly in the Gal district, in obtaining citizenship and passports. Shakryl emphasized the importance of addressing these issues, which are complicated by political circumstances, citizenship and residency laws, and bureaucratic obstacles.
The Speaker of Parliament, Lasha Ashuba, responded to the ombudsman's report, acknowledging the importance of the issues raised and discussing the measures taken by Parliament to address some of them. He noted that although there were some successes, he did not want to focus on them. "In 2021, we also received a report. We managed to react to some things, but not to others," said Ashuba.
Regarding the issue of Eastern Abkhazia and passportization, a working group has been created in Parliament to resolve this complex and politicized issue. The chairman of the defense and national security committee has also initiated meetings on this issue, including with the executive branch. "This issue is not ignored. We are trying to take certain actions to address this issue," said Ashuba.
Ashuba also responded to the ombudsman's statement that there were no responses to some letters sent to Parliament. He clarified that some of the letters received verbal responses and cited an example of how they acted on the ombudsman's concern regarding historical and cultural monuments. "Regarding the history related to historical and cultural monuments, we contacted the Ministry of Culture. They created a separate structure to deal with this issue," said Ashuba.
The speaker emphasized that while he agreed with many provisions of the report, there were also points with which he disagreed. "But in general, if we expose existing problems, it will be useful for all of us and for the state as a whole," he said. He concluded by thanking the ombudsman for her work over the past 5 years, noting that she had laid the foundation for the future activities of the institution. "In fact, you are the first commissioner to start your work," said Ashuba.
Overall, the ombudsman's report and the responses from Parliament highlight the importance of addressing human rights violations and taking concrete actions to improve the situation in the country.
The full text of the ombudsman's speech in Parliament can be read at the following link: https://ombudsmanra.org/press-tsentr/novosti/789/