PM describes IDP issues at UN General Assembly session

PM Garibashvili underlined the issues of dignified return of IDPs and improvement of their living condition in his speech., 22 Sep 2014 - 23:11, Tbilisi,Georgia

The Prime Minister of Georgia has delivered a poignant speech at a special session within the 69th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili spoke at the UNGA’s 29th Special Session titled ‘Implementation of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development’ (ICPD), which took place at the UN headquarters today.

In his speech, head of Georgian Government said the issue of internally displaced persons (IDPs) was one of the most pressing issues Georgia faced and the social-economic integration of IDPs remained the country's principal goal. He said the challenges IDPs faced included their dignified return to their homelands and improvement of their current living conditions.

According to the Prime Minister, almost half a million people were internally displaced in recent years and the conditions of their safe, voluntary and dignified return had not been fulfilled.

"Over 450,000 people in Georgia were displaced by several waves of conflict. Their right to return to their homes of origin remains violated, since they are not granted conditions for safe, voluntary and a dignified return,” he said.

"The principal goal of the Government remains to promote the social-economic integration and improving the living conditions of IDPs until their safe and dignified return is possible.”

He said the Government was implementing "several different plans” to achieve this goal and despite some "remarkable achievements", much more remained to be done.

"We are mindful of the challenges that still remain to improve the quality of lives of all our people, ensure equality and equity, and protect the environment for succeeding generations. We therefore share the urgency of the findings of the review," the Prime Minister said.

Speaking on behalf of Georgia, Garibashvili said Georgia was happy to join the international community in reaffirming its support for the ICPD Programme of Action and his country stood ready to further contribute to this effort.

"Over the past 20 years since the adoption of the ICPD Programme of Action, Georgia has made considerable progress in advancing the ICPD agenda in several priority areas. Our population agenda has been very successful to date: fewer women are dying in childbirth, more unwanted pregnancies are prevented and young people’s opportunities have expanded," PM Garibashvili said.

"My country is working on a host of initiatives focused on caring for our population and improving their wellbeing. Most significantly in the last year, the Government launched its flagship program on Universal Health Care (UHC) that ensured every citizen of Georgia could access a basic package of out-patient, in-patient and emergency health services," PM Garibashvili added.

According to him, Georgia also had a comprehensive social protection strategy which had a primary focus on protecting the elderly from poverty and targeted assistance to poor and vulnerable people.

PM Garibashvili believed a new public-private solidarity fund would mobilise non-budgetary resources to support the most vulnerable.

He said his Government had taken several legislative and institutional steps to address the Human rights challenges, and noted the ratification of the Convention on the Right of the Persons with Disabilities by the Georgian Parliament in December last year, and the January 2014 adoption of a new action plan to ensure equal opportunities of all persons to address his point.

In this context he stressed the adoption of a National Human Rights Strategy for 2014-2020, the National Human Rights Action Plan for 2014-2015, and a new Anti-discrimination Law would also help tackle this issue.