TBILISI. 31 July 2015 – Targeted, poverty reducing benefits for people living in the highlands of Georgia, as well as incentives for businesses and budget support to economic and social development are envisioned in a newly adopted Law on the Development of Mountainous Regions, which comes into force today, 31 July 2015.
The draft law adopted by the Parliament of Georgia last week was prepared by the Government of Georgia with the leadership of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure, and support from the Swiss Cooperation Office for the South Caucasus, Austrian Development Cooperation and UNDP.
“The new Law establishes objective criteria for classifying mountainous areas and settlements. It provides important and substantial social, economic and business benefits, together with a guarantee of annual funds from the national budget reserved for mountain development,” said Tengiz Shergelashvili, Deputy Minister of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia.
The benefits described in the new Law include: tax exemptions for selected companies operating in the mountainous areas; improved social benefits for local residents; higher salaries for teachers and medical staff; and increased social assistance for pensioners. In addition, more opportunities and support will be available for infrastructure and business development in the highlands.
The Ministry of Corrections of Georgia presented the results of its efforts to enhance staff professionalism in the Georgian prison system. With assistance from the Government of Sweden and UNDP, the Ministry has set up a system of professional training of the staff to ensure the protection of human rights and fair treatment to prisoners. With the new recruitment procedure to be introduced in September 2015, applicants to the positions in penitentiary now undergo specialized training by the Penitentiary and Probation Training Centre.
“The ongoing reform is leading us to the European standards in penitentiary that are based on the protection of human rights. Qualified staff is one of the key prerequisites of these systemic changes,” said Kakhi Kakhishvili, First Deputy Minister of Corrections, at a conference on 21 July 2015 which summarised the results of the training project.
The Juvenile Justice Code adopted by the Parliament of Georgia last month envisages thespecialization of professionals, the use of detention as a measure of last resort, the introduction of alternative measures and sentencing mechanisms, as well as individual approaches for children in conflict with the law, child victims and witnesses of crime, and children participating in administrative proceedings. The Code, which was developed by the Ministry of Justice with the support of UNICEF and the EU-funded project “Support to the Criminal Justice System Reform in Georgia”,brings the juvenile justice system into compliance with international standards. The Code will come into force in January 2016.
“I would like to commend the Ministry of Justice, the Parliament of Georgia, the Supreme Court, all involved ministries and agencies, civil society organizations, and international and national experts for their efforts in developing a Juvenile Justice Code that is one of the most progressive laws in the entire region”, said Sascha Graumann, UNICEF Representative in Georgia. “The Code ensures that the best interests of the child are considered in the justice system, which means that traditional objectives of criminal justice, such as repression and retribution, give way to rehabilitation and restorative justice when dealing with child offenders,” Mr Graumann added.
On July 7, 2015, a conference Ageing Policy in Georgia took place at the Cinema Hall of the Parliament of Georgia, in Tbilisi.
The conference was designed to support integration of ageing-related issues into public policies and programmes, in order to advance the country’s sustainable development.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) in collaboration with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) supported the development of the comprehensive Road Map for Mainstreaming Ageing in Georgia, which represents a solid ground and a significant step towards the development of the action plan on Ageing.
More than twenty companies and organizations competed for Gender Equality Awards – the national contest held in Georgia for the fourth time this year. The 2015 champions of gender equality were revealed at a gala event on 6 July.
The winner of Best Women Entrepreneur Award – Nutsa Abramishvili of Shuhman Winery was awarded by the President of Georgia, Giorgi Margvelashvili, who attended the event as a special guest.
“Georgia has moved a long way to ensuring gender equality in every aspect of political, economic and social life. We are determined to build a society where everyone can enjoy their rights and exercise their choices without discrimination,” President Margvelashvili said.
The Gender Equality Awards was organised by the Gender Equality Council of the Parliament of Georgia with assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and Government of Sweden as part of the UN Joint Programme “To Enhance Gender Equality in Georgia”.
“Georgia needs more gender equality in political life as well as in business. I am sure that we are on the right track to achieve significant progress in this area,” said Manana Kobakhidze, First Deputy Chairperson of the Parliament of Georgia and Chair of the Gender Equality Council.
The Secretary-General takes note of the recent events at the line of control of South Ossetia. He expresses his concerns regarding activities that may negatively impact the freedom of movement and livelihood of the local population. He calls on all parties to refrain from any steps that could be seen as provocative and detrimental to ongoing efforts to promote regional peace and stability.
The Secretary-General urges all parties to use established mechanisms such as the Geneva International Discussions (GID) and the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism (IPRM) to address issues of concern and to diffuse tensions.
New York, 16 July 2015more