Georgia’s penitentiary reforms may provide an inspiration for others to follow – David Zalkaliani

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The FINANCIAL — 28.09.2018, New York –within the framework of the 73rd session of the UN General Assembly, Georgian Foreign Minister David Zalkaliani participated in the high-level event – Good Human Rights Stories – aimed at sharing the successful practices and lessons learnt in the area of human rights.

Delivering his remarks before the attending audience, David Zalkaliani spoke about the efforts of Georgia as a reformer country. According to him, the Georgian Government in 2012 received a heavy legacy of politicized and repressive criminal justice system with an extremely poor human rights record. Therefore, the penitentiary system reforms need to be highlighted as most impressive and as an example to provide inspiration for other to follow.

According to Zalkaliani the cornerstone of penitentiary reforms in Georgia was the enhancement of human rights standards. He stressed that torture and inhuman and degrading treatment are no longer used as a tool to administer prisons that is the main gain of these reforms. “Through these efforts we made significant steps forward to bring our standards closer to the EU and comply with the recommendations provided by human rights monitoring bodies” – added the Minister.

According to Zalkaliani, the main novelties of the reforms were the introduction of individual sentence planning and risk assessment mechanisms. There ensure public safety and assist inmates in the process of preparation for the release. The overall objective of the penitentiary system is to promote the resocialization of inmates, with less risk of re-offending.

Good Human Rights Stories (GHRS) initiative was presented by Stavros Lambrinidis in 2018 in connection with the 70th anniversary of adoption of the Universal Human Rights Declaration and includes 13 countries. The Inter-regional group is made up of the countries which have achieved significant progress for human rights protection and are now exemplary for other nations. Georgia is the only country from the region to be included into the group.

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