Georgian Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili on Friday said the Conservative Party of Norway’s granting of the Sjur Lindebrekke Award for human rights and democracy promotion to Georgia’s imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili earlier this year was “insulting” given the human rights violations of the latter’s former Government.
In his comments to the Georgian Parliament, the Minister said the United National Movement Government had failed to honour human rights during its time in office, and added he discussed Saakashvili’s selection for the prize at a meeting with the Norwegian Ambassador Helene Sand Andresen at the Ministry in March.
The top Georgian diplomat alleged the prize had been granted to the former official while “no human rights” had been observed in the country during his presidency.
He also told lawmakers he had raised the topic of the Ambassador’s “incomprehensible comments” in her criticism of Georgian Government officials’ responses to the award.
The meeting in March was hosted after Andresen said she was “astonished” by comments by Georgia’s Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili, who likened Saakashvili being awarded the Award to a hypothetical scenario of Anders Behring Breivik, a terrorist who staged 2011 attacks that killed 77 in Norway, being distinguished by a state.
In reaction to the remarks, Andresen also said she found them “highly inappropriate”. She also noted the prize did not represent the position of the Norwegian Government and was the initiative of a specific party.