Universal Periodic Review 10th Session
Intervention by Australia
Australia welcomes the delegation from Georgia and appreciates its active cooperation with the international community on human rights.
We recognise efforts made by the Government towards improving the human rights situation in Georgia – including in the areas of anti-corruption, criminal justice, gender equality, and children’s rights.
Australia commends Georgia’s 2006 abolition of the death penalty.
We welcome Georgia’s reforms to promote the transparency and accountability, including across the security and justice sectors. We note that the new Criminal Procedure Code of October 2010 pays particular attention to the protection of human rights, including access to fair, rapid and effective justice.
We are, however, concerned by the conditions in Georgia’s prisons, which reflect in part a 300 per cent increase in the prisoner population since 2003. We also remain concerned by reports of low public trust in the judiciary and wish to emphasise the importance of judicial independence.
Mr President, we take note of your comments on the point of order. However, we must state that Australia supports Georgia’s territorial integrity. We continue to call on all parties to respect the terms of the ceasefire agreement and to engage constructively in international discussions on stability in the Georgian territories of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
We note that Georgia faces ongoing challenges in providing a long-term solution to the needs of internally displaced persons – including by improving access to education and healthcare and ensuring adequate income and housing opportunities.
We have three recommendations. Australia recommends Georgia:
Improve conditions in Georgia’s prisons, including in relation to overcrowding and inadequate health care;
Continue to build public trust in democratic institutions by strengthening the rule of law including as it relates to the independence of the judiciary; and
In close coordination with UN bodies, continue to address the needs of internally displaced persons, including those living in host communities.