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NGOs are against establishing the new ad hoc agency in charge of voter lists

As it is known, on September 26 the draft of the Organic Law of Georgia on “Introducing Amendments to the Election Code of Georgia” was initiated to the Parliament. The proposed document envisages establishment of ad hoc commission for development of voter lists that will “ensure specification of voter lists on the whole territory of Georgia by different means, including door to door inspection principle”. “The commission will specify voter lists by July 1, 2012. The list submitted by the commission to the Central Election Commission (CEC) is considered to be voter’s general list. ” Representative of NGOs and political parties form the Commission. Even though initially the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association, International Transparency –Georgia and International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy were also represented among NGOs, these organizations were not given opportunity to be involved in elaboration and examination of the draft. In particular, the draft initiated on September 26, was passed to the bureau the same day, while at least 72 hours interval should have been observed between initiation of the draft and the session of the bureau. Furthermore, the rule established by the regulation on publication of the information about the session of Legal Issues Committee was also violated. It envisages publication of information on the web-page of the Parliament about the session and its agenda two days prior to the session. In this restricted period of time it is completely impossible to participate in law drafting process for the interested persons.

2011-10-04 09:14 See more

GYLA together with partner organizations held a presentation on the draft of the new Election Code

On September 30, 2011 the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), together with the partner NGOs: International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) and International Transparency -Georgia held a presentation on the draft of the new Election Code. The organizations submitted to the representatives of local and international organizations, political parties and other interested persons their observations on the proposed amendments to the election legislation. As they state, in general the draft does not introduce substantial changes for improving election environment. Organizations plan to continue activities in that direction with the Parliament of Georgia and other interested entities. Later on, they will also submit their opinions to the Parliament.

2011-10-04 07:57 See more

GYLA Celebrated the Right to Know Day

Today, on September 28, the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) traditionally celebrated the international Right to Know Day. To mark the celebration, GYLA held simultaneous events in its offices in Tbilisi, Kutaisi, Gori and Telavi under the frames of the project Promotion of Transparency and Accountability in Georgia. In Tbilisi GYLA held a presentation of the research prepared on Issuing Permission for Street Vending on the Territory of Tbilisi, as well as the public information database of GYLA. GYLA’s research on Issuing Permission for Street Vending on the Territory of Tbilisi focuses on lawfulness of the process, main trends and problems revealed in practice of issuing permits by the Tbilisi Architecture Service for placing temporary edifices and/or facilities for street vending in public areas on the territory of Tbilisi. The research disclosed facts of biased decisions, existence of “privileged” companies, as well as lack of substantiation of decisions made. Today GYLA also held a public presentation of its public information database

2011-09-29 10:35 See more

GYLA Files Appeal with Constitutional Court against Monitoring of Private Internet Communications

On September 20, 2011, GYLA filed an appeal with Constitutional Court seeking recognition of the norms of the Law of Georgia on Operative and Investigative Activities that allow law enforcers to monitor private communications on the Internet as unconstitutional. GYLA is seeking determination of whether the impugned norms comply with Article 19 (freedom of speech and expression) and Article 20 (right to privacy) of the Constitution of Georgia. On September 24, 2010, the law of Georgia on Operative and Investigative Activities was amended, allowing law enforcers to monitor private communications on the Internet. The proposed legal formulation is obscure and allows for various interpretations. Format of private internet communications is a personal, intimate field of an individual, protected by Article 20 of the Constitution of Georgia. Mandatory requirement for such intrusion in one’s personal life is court’s warrant or existence of urgent necessity. None of these conditions are envisaged by norms impugned by GYLA but rather court control on monitoring of private internet communications are directly ruled out.

2011-09-27 07:29 See more

Petition Of The Member Organizations Of The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Georgian National Platform

Member organizations of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Georgian National Platform express their concern over the illegal dispersal and detention of  striking trade union members from Kutaisi metallurgical plant Herkulesi with some of them on hunger strike, which took place in the evening of September 15, 2011. According to the information provided by the Trade Unions Confederation, a member of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Georgian National Platform, workers of Herkulesi Plant were exercising their right to strike guaranteed by Article 33 of the Constitution of Georgia, requesting improvement of unbearable working conditions at the factory and reinstatement of their 17 colleagues to work that have been fired for pursuing trade union activities. Full-scale strike that began on September 13 was preceded by a token strike on September 2. Procedures of strike were implemented in full compliance with the requirements of the Georgian legislation. Therefore, the decision of the law enforcement agencies to disperse the strike lacked legal grounds. Member organizations of the Georgian National Platform condemn the illegal actions of law enforcement agencies and strongly believe that the following fundamental rights – right to strike, right to freedom of assembly and association, right to collective bargaining, and freedom of labor were violated. The noted action also contains elements of crimes punishable under the Criminal Code of Georgia, such as infringement of the right to strike, illegal encroachment on personal freedom, infringement of the right to assembly and manifestation, prosecution and discrimination based on trade union affiliation.

2011-09-23 08:19 See more

GYLA’s Statement about Dispersal of “Herkulesi” Workers’ Strike

On September 15, 2011, the police dispersed the strike of workers of Herkulesi – a metallurgical factory in Kutaisi. The workers on strike demanded improvement of working conditions at the factory. The right to go on strike is guaranteed by the Labor Code, which stipulates that strike is a temporary voluntary refusal by an employee to partially or fully fulfill his/her obligations under the labor contract, with the purpose of regulating subsequent relations within the frames of a labor dispute. The dispute between the factory administration and workers has been ongoing for several months already. The written list of workers’ requirements was submitted to the factory administration but the latter failed to react. Afterward, the factory workers, in compliance with Article 49 of the Labor Code, held a token strike and after 24 hours following the token strike, Herkulesi workers’ right to strike arose. As for the right of assembly and manifestation of the strikers, which they enjoyed since the first day of going on strike, the police grossly interfered with the right by dispersing and detaining the strikers. Representatives of GYLA Kutaisi office had been monitoring the strike since the very first day. According to our information, the strike was held in full compliance with the Law of Georgia on Assemblies and Manifestations. The strikers had occupied the factory premises without blocking traffic or the factory entrance. It is proved by footage broadcasted by media. Therefore, we strongly believe that the law enforces had no legal grounds to interfere with the strike and obstruct the workers right to go on a strike.

2011-09-18 07:55 See more

Opinions on draft amendments to the Election Code of Georgia

The Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA), Transparency International – Georgia, the New Generation – New Initiative (nGnI) and the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED) have been actively observing the process of negotiations for improvement of election environment. On June 30 we, the organizations, expressed our strong position on the issues agreed by eight political parties, having assessed hem as insufficient for actual improvement of Election Legislation. On August 1, representatives of non-governmental organizations attended the meeting of a special editorial group discussing the draft of pending amendments to the Election Code. We think that legislative formulations of agreement reached among eight political parties examined at the editorial group meeting, require significant elaboration. Even if they are developed, we still consider improper to limit the process of improving election environment to only discussion of agreed issues, considering their insignificance. It should be noted that the draft submitted at the working group meeting of the editorial group did not concentrate on number of important issues such as: specification of voters’ lists, establishment of special commission for monitoring, interagency coordination council and the rule of its operation and media monitoring.

2011-09-14 09:33 See more

Member organizations of Georgian National Platform of Eastern Partnership Civil Society National Forum declare their solidarity to GYLA

On September 6, 2011 the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA) submitted to public independent forensic report from DAS Fingerprints/Forensics Ltd. (forensic bureau established in UK) regarding circumstances of Nika Kvintradze’s death, one of the persons who died during the developments of May 26. The report contains important information for investigation of circumstances of Nika Kvintradze’s death. Following the publication of independent forensic findings, the Ministry of Interior accused GYLA in deliberate dissemination of false facts. Representatives of state authorities made incorrect comments towards GYLA blaming the organization for involvement in “political games”. At the same time, Kurieri news on Rustavi 2 and Kronika news on Imedi for several days broadcasted reports prepared in full disregard of journalistic standards and ethic norms aimed to discredit GYLA. We are particularly concerned that GYLA’s right to get and disseminate professional information that is inseparable and important part of human rights’ NGO questioned as opposed to credibility of forensic findings.

2011-09-14 08:27 See more

GYLA Held a Rally outside the Interior Ministry

On September 9, 2011, at 4:30 p.m., the Georgian Young Lawyers Association held a rally/walking from the building of Interior Ministry to the office of the General Prosecutor of Georgia. After the Georgian Young Lawyers Association published findings of a British forensic analysis bureau regarding the case of Nika Kvintradze’s death during the May 26 developments, both the authorities and media have been waging attacks against GYLA. Regrettably, instead of the authorities providing answers to legitimate questions, reports prepared in violation of journalistic standards and ethic norms and aimed at discrediting GYLA have been broadcasted for the last couple of days. They constitute attacks against the organization rather then a discussion on effective investigation into the case.

2011-09-12 07:03 See more

Solidarity Rally of Georgian NGOs outside GYLA Office

Representatives of NGOs held a solidarity rally in support of the Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association on September 8, at 1:00 pm, outside the office of GYLA. They declared their solidarity to GYLA that has been subject to incorrect comments by the authorities after it published findings of a British forensic analysis bureau regarding the case of Nika Kvintradze who died during the May 26 developments. Furthermore, some media outlets broadcasted reports aimed to discredit GYLA. NGOs participating in the solidarity rally released a special petition.

2011-09-09 07:15 See more