After the Russian-Georgian war of August 2008, and the recognition of the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia by the Russian Federation, Georgia adopted a Law on Occupied Territories, which limited the ability of foreign citizens to travel and conduct economic activities on the occupied territories. The violation of this law constitutes a criminal offence and is punishable with a fine or imprisonment.
On May 16, 2017, the Parliament of Georgia approved the Open Parliament Georgia Action Plan 2017-2018. The Action Plan consists of 25 Commitments that aim to increase accountability and transparency of parliamentary activities and ensure citizen participation in lawmaking processes.
The Georgian government plans to launch an e-petition platform (ichange.gov.ge) in the near future. Through the platform, any Georgian citizen will be able to create an electronic petition and gather signatures; petitions with a sufficient number of signatures will be sent to the government for consideration.
IDFI continues to publish declassified secret documents from U.S. institutions. This time we present document sent from U.S. Embassy in Moscow to the State Department in September 1991. The document describes meeting of the congressional delegation with the representatives of the opposition.
Georgia recently saw a number of videos depicting violent treatment of animals spread through social networks and the media. These videos have left the public wondering about whether perpetrators have been held responsible.
On April 22, 2017, the Constitutional Commission voted on and approved the draft text of constitutional amendments. The draft constitution includes some positive changes, but also a number of significant shortcomings.
Georgian legislation provides for the obligation for public officials to submit their asset declarations annually. Declarations are available on the webpage of the Civil Service Bureau. The system is largely functional. However, there are several shortcomings associated to it. Namely, there is no mechanism in place to verify declared data and identify the cases when inconsistent or deliberately false information is indicated. Which will then result in the liability of public officials.
The US Department of State published the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2016. The reports are based on data provided by US Embassies, as well as International Missions and reviews the human rights situation in 200 countries, including Georgia.
Georgia has gained 10 positions in the 2017 Index of Economic Freedom, taking the 13th place in the ranking of 180 countries worldwide and going ahead of all of its neighbors and most European and Post-Soviet countries. In Europe, Georgia took the 5th place and is behind only Switzerland, Estonia, Ireland and Great Britain.
As of January 2017, 37,000 IDP households in Georgia are expecting state assistance. According to the Ministry of Refugees, GEL 1.5 billion is needed to provide these families with permanent housing.