Amid concerns that the COVID-19 crisis is deepening inequality and jeopardizing the prospects of vulnerable and marginalised groups, the European Union (EU) joined forces today with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Office of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to launch a EUR 2.5 million (USD 3 million) programme to promote and protect human rights in Georgia.
The three-year initiative “Human Rights for All” was signed to mark International Human Rights Day. The programme will be implemented by the two UN agencies in close coordination with the national human rights institutions and legislative, executive and judicial authorities, as well as civil society and communities.
“Investing in human rights, democracy and the rule of law is essential to achieve more fair, more resilient and inclusive societies,“ said EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell. “Human rights, democracy and the rule of law, as well as a gender-responsive approach, will remain at the heart of the EU’s response to and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
“Georgia has come a long way in enacting the principles enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,” said UNDP Head Louisa Vinton. “But the pandemic has exposed cracks in society that threaten these values. Our programme responds by putting inclusion and equality at the heart of any post-COVID recovery.”
“Today we stress the imperative to build back better by making human rights central to recovery efforts,” said OHCHR Senior Adviser Vladimir Shkolnikov. “We will reach our common global goals only if we create equal opportunities for all, address the failures exposed and exploited by COVID-19, and apply human rights standards to tackle entrenched, systematic and intergenerational inequalities, exclusion and discrimination.”
The new programme launched by the EU, UNDP and OHCHR assists Georgia in reinforcing its achievements in promoting and strengthening human rights policies and practices, and addressing the areas of concern outlined by the independent assessment commissioned by the EU and the UN in 2019.
The programme focuses on five areas:
- Enhancing the public bodies that are responsible for developing, monitoring and implementing human rights policies;
- Assisting law-enforcement agencies and human rights institutions in carrying out their duties;
- Promoting the rights of minority groups and vulnerable citizens;
- Supporting human rights protection at the local level; and
- Ensuring that citizens have full access to human rights information and protection mechanisms.
Human Rights for All builds on the achievements of a previous four-year partnership between the EU and the UN agencies. The new stage of the programme runs from December 2020 through October 2023.
- Sophie Tchitchinadze, UNDP, +995 599 196907, email@example.com
- Teiko Kandelaki, UNDP, +995 599 103525, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Thea Ketishvili, OHCHR, +995 577 122724, email@example.com
- Tamar Mikadze, EU Delegation to Georgia, +995 32 2943763, firstname.lastname@example.org