US praises Georgia’s judicial reforms, media pluralism, human rights protection

16 de noviembre 2015 / By Agenda.de

The United States (US) has welcomed the recent developments regarding the Tbilisi-based Rustavi 2 private broadcasting company and said they would allow the appeals processes to move forward and preserve media pluralism in Georgia.

The US also praised Georgia for its recent reforms which contributed to a stronger judiciary system and human rights protection.

These and other achievements of Georgia were stressed in a joint statement by Tbilisi and Washington, issued after the US-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission‘s (SPC) Democracy and Governance Working Group met on November 12 in Washington. The meeting aimed to review the progress on goals set at the Working Group’s previous meeting in 2014 in Tbilisi.

The meeting built on a plenary session of the SPC hosted in Washington by Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland during the visit of Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Georgia Giorgi Kvirikashvili. Both sides agreed on the importance of a fair, level, and competitive playing field for political parties and candidates in the lead-up to the October 2016 Parliamentary Elections, as well as an open, pluralistic, and independent space for political, media, and civil society voices.

“The US appreciated developments with regard to Rustavi 2 that will allow the appeals processes to move forward and preserve media pluralism in Georgia,” the statement read.

Both sides affirmed the importance of a strong and independent judiciary.

The joints statement stressed the US commended Georgia’s implemented and ongoing reforms of the judiciary, Prosecutor General’s Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and encouraged that these efforts continue, going deeper and broader both in law and practice.

The US also praised Georgia for its plans to establish a pre-trial services office and looked forward to its quick implementation.

Both sides noted Georgia’s achievements in reforming law enforcement and security services, administrative and pre-trial detention and the corrections system.

The sides agreed that implementation of these and other reforms would remain important to Georgia’s democratic development, further strengthen Georgia’s democracy and contribute to Georgia’s achievement of its European and Euro-Atlantic integration goals.

“The United States pledged its continued support and assistance in achieving these goals,” the statement read.

The US also commended Georgia’s efforts to include civil society in decision making bodies and both sides agreed on the importance of continued progress in fostering an environment conducive to civil society.

Washington also welcomed Georgia’s recent legislation improving the independence of the civil service.

The Working Group also recognised Georgia’s efforts to build an inclusive society that respected the rights of all, including members of minority populations, its regional leadership in the empowerment of women and promotion of women in public life, and its efforts to combat human trafficking.

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