Georgia’s Interior Ministry launches human rights department

The new initiative follows announcement of police reforms by minister Giorgi Gakharia. Photo: Georgia's Interior Ministry press office., 19 Jan 2018 - 16:58, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia has announced it has launched a human rights department in a new move aimed at improving the qualification of law enforcement professionals in dealing with various new challenges in crime.

Aimed at contributing to a more efficient and up-to-date approach to crime including domestic violence and incidents involving underage individuals, the new unit is the first major initiative of the ministry in 2018.

Its launch follows the announcement of a fresh wave of police reforms by minister Giorgi Gakharia, made last month.

The department will also be tasked with monitoring:

  • Investigations of domestic violence by the ministry and its various agencies
  • Investigations of violence against women
  • Investigative cases dealing with crime motivated by discrimination and hate
  • Cases involving the crime of trafficking

The ministry said the department would serve to "identify inconsistencies” in the investigations, develop recommendations for their elimination and ensure implementation of the recommendations.

Employees of the new unit will be able to request information on investigations and administrative cases from relevant agencies.

They will also collect recommendations — issued by the human rights defender, non-governmental and international organisations — and ensure their provision to professionals of the ministry and special services under its management.

The department will also study the best practices of the European Court of Human Rights and those by investigative agencies of foreign countries and provide them to ministry employees and specialised services.

Minister Giorgi Gakharia signed the decree on establishing the unit last week, with the ministry announcing the initiative on Friday.

The initiative follows a number of controversial incidents involving police officers and citizens in Georgia over the recent years which have resulted in widespread social protest of methods and regulations employed by the police.

The Interior Ministry has already announced openings for positions in the newly established department, while it will also hold an official presentation of the unit on January 23.