IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Conference organised by Georgian NP condemns practices of illegal surveillance
The Georgian National Platform organised a conference on “Civil Society against Illegal Surveillance” on 29 April 2013 with the support of the Open Society Georgia Foundation and the European Union. The Conference hosted the chairman of the Georgian Parliament, the Prime Minister of Georgia, the Ombudsman and other high officials form the Government, representatives of international organisations and Diplomatic Missions in Georgia.
The Conference discussed issues relating to the deletion of footages gained through illegal surveillance of citizens by the previous government and the establishment of efficient mechanisms of parliamentary and civic control in order to prevent such incidents in the future. The civil society organisers of the conference called upon the government to delete the footage of illegal surveillance, investigate the abuse and amend the respective legislation in order to guarantee that similar mechanisms will not be used by the current government. Furthermore, they urged to establish civil society control mechanisms.
The initiative of the National Platform was highly appreciated by the chairman of the Georgian Parliament Mr Usupashvili, who also expressed the readiness of the Parliament to cooperate concerning the amendment of the respective legislation and stressed the openness of the Parliament to concrete suggestion from civil society organisations.
The Prime Minister of Georgia Mr Ivanishvili expressed in a statement the condemnation of the practices of illegal surveillance and promised that such practices will no longer we used in Georgia.
The Minister of Internal Affairs Mr Gharibashvili also declared that the archive inherited form the previous government containing the illegal surveillance footage will be destroyed after the investigation process has come to an end.
The Ambassador of the United States H.E. Mr Norland underlined the readiness of the United States to support Georgia and stressed the regional significance of the conference, as Georgia is in a position to draw a line and to separate the previous legacy concerning privacy of the soviet era from the modern era.
The government representatives unanimously expressed their will to elaborate efficient mechanisms of parliamentary and civil control in cooperation with civil society and the media. A next meeting on the issue was scheduled for June in order to discuss the steps taken until then.