Ucha Nanuashvili

Public Defender (Ombudsman) of Georgia

Ucha

In 1996 he graduated from Tbilisi Political Sciences Institute, in 1999 he graduated from the International law and international relations department at the Tbilisi State University, in 2005 he concluded his doctoral studies at the Tbilisi Political Sciences Institute.

In 2010-2012 Mr. Nanuashvili was the Chairperson of the Board of the Human Rights House, in 2007-2012 he was the Director of the Human Rights Center, in 2003-2004 he was lecturer at the Police Academy, in 2000-2002 he was lecturer at the Tbilisi Political Sciences Institute, in 1996–2007 he worked in different positions at the Human Rights Information and Documentation Center.

 

Release

On June 8, 2014, representatives of the Armenian community of Georgia met with Mr. Ucha Nanuashvili, the Public Defender (Ombudsman) of Georgia at Hayartun center. The meeting focused on the human rights situation and violation of rights of ethnic and religious minorities in Georgia.

The meeting was organized within the framework of the “Political Participation through Dialogue” project supported by the Open Society - Georgia Foundation. Project’s website: www.ardzagank.ge

The Ombudsman presented his annual parliamentary report on the human rights situation in Georgia and responded to questions from the audience. Mr. Nanuashvili stressed that serious problems exist in the field of ethnic minorities’ sound participation in political, cultural and social life of the country. The level of ethnic minorities’ representation in the executive, legislative and local governments is still low. He mentioned that serious measures have not been taken to address these issues.

Mr. Nanuashvili commended the Government’s decision to provide partial compensation to four religious organizations (Armenian Apostolic, Roman Catholic, Jewish and Islamic communities) for damages caused during the Soviet period. He added that different opinions exist concerning the allocation of budgetary funds for this purpose. According to Mr. Nanuashvili, this decision is not sufficient and dialogue has to continue in order to eradicate any perception of discrimination. Open discussion of these issues is necessary and minority representatives need to be involved in the process.

Another issue mentioned by the Ombudsman is the lack of knowledge of the State language by ethnic minority groups. Although there have been some attempts to teach Georgian to ethnic minorities, the issue remains largely unaddressed. More effective steps must be taken for the integration of ethnic minorities, especially in rural and densely populated regions.

During the session, representatives of the Armenian community expressed disappointment that the State continues to hold churches and other property belonging to the Armenian Diocese which were confiscated during the Soviet era. The Ombudsman referred to his annual report in response to the issue of church property.

Additionally, Georgian-Armenian representatives drew attention to the discrimination ethnic Armenians face from Azerbaijani companies and meddling by Azeri officials in domestic Georgian affairs.

Mr. Nanuashvili said that before adoption of the law of Georgia “On elimination of all forms of discrimination” he had no grounds to intervene in private companies’ affairs. However, since adoption of the anti-discriminatory law, a legal basis was created to fight against discrimination in private companies.

Mr. Nurbenkyan, the Chairperson of the Association of Georgian Pilots mentioned that he was deprived of the special pension because of his ethnicity, when all 7 members of his crew received their appropriate pension. The Ombudsman asked him to provide additional information and promised to study the case.

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