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Georgia

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Politics and government of
Georgia


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Human rights in Georgia are guaranteed by the country's constitution. There is an independent human rights public defender elected by the parliament to ensure such rights are enforced [1]. However, it has been alleged by Amnesty International[2], Human Rights Watch[3], the United States Department of State[4] and the Georgian opposition[5] that these rights are often ignored or breached.

In addition around 20% of the territory of what was the Georgian SSR is in dispute (occupied in the view of the government in Tbilisi) and there have been frequent allegations of human rights abuses in these terrioties also.

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Rights of minorities

The government of Georgia have taken positive steps towards protecting religious minorities. Attacks against those of different faiths have subsided since the revolution, and a leader of these attacks, Vasili Mkalavishvili, was arrested and incarcerated by the authorities. Prime Minister Zurab Jvania was a key supporter of allowing religious organisations recognition from the state, but he faced considerable opposition from his own government: his own president said that the state should do what it can to 'protect Georgia from harmful alien influence.' Despite reforms allowing minority churches to register themselves in 2005, the Georgian Orthodox church has a considerable monopoly in Georgia, whilst minority groups find it hard to even build places of worship. The 2002 concordat between the G.O.C. and the Georgian government, is still in place. which grantes the Georgian Orthodox Church a privileged status in Georgia, and endows it with authority over all religious matters. It is the only church that has tax-free status, and it is often consulted in government matters. Together with being free of tax, Georgian Orthodox Church also gets some financing from the government as well. The main reason for this is that the church has always been very active in country's cultural development and just like in most Eastern Orthodox countries, the line between culture and religion is blurred.

Georgia has ratified the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities in 2005. NGO "Tolerance" in its alternative report about its implementation speaks of rapid decreasing of the amount of Azerbaijani schools and cases of appointing headmasters to Azerbaijani schools who don't speak Azerbaijani.[6]

Freedom of expression and of the media

The government has improved protection of freedom of expression, by such measures as decriminalising libel.

During the 2007 Georgian demonstrations, the riot police attacked the headquarters of Imedi channel, leading it to off the airing of demonstrations.[7]

Status of refugees

Refugees do not have satisfactory housing, medical care, or job opportunities in Georgia, especially the ones from the Chechen War. The biggest problem in this matter is that Georgia already had nearly 300,000 refugees from the wars with separatist regions in 1990, which made things for the government even harder. In recent years, there have been numerous legislations passed in order to protect the refugees and give them financial and medical help. As of 2008, Georgian government reported that millions of dollars of aid would be allocated from the state resources for improvement of living conditions for the refugees and other people in need.

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