January 29, 2023

question about the event

Ambassador Degnan: Public Defender is one of the most challenging and important jobs in any democracy. According to the Constitution of Georgia, the Public Defender is responsible for protecting the human rights of all citizens of Georgia. Sometimes this means that the government or others are not satisfied with the public defender because his job is to tell the truth to the authorities by defending the rights of the citizens of Georgia and improving the systems and institutions that Georgia is building for its democracy . Not everyone will be happy with you. It’s a job that requires tremendous courage, integrity, independence and dedication. The United States is very proud to support Nino Lomjaria and her outstanding professional team during her tenure in helping the Public Defender’s Office strengthen its systems to better serve the needs of the citizens of Georgia to be able and equipped to fulfill its constitutional obligation to protect and defend the human rights of all Georgian citizens. It is a great privilege for the United States to support an office that is so vital to every Georgian citizen. I am very proud to be here today. I think everyone in this conference room has been impressed by the breadth of work that the Public Defender’s Office has accomplished over the past five years and by the amount of significant improvements the Public Defender has made in many areas. As we have seen, there are also areas where further work needs to be done. I know the next public defender will take care of that. We all hope that the process now under way to select the next public defender will produce a qualified, independent, dedicated professional who has the courage to speak the truth to those in power and to represent the people of Georgia as Nino Lomjaria and you did team have done done.

Question about former President Saakashvili

Ambassador Degnan: We continue to monitor his situation very closely. We go through the latest reports just like everyone else. Some of the recently published reports have not been translated into English. The main thing is that the government takes all necessary steps based on this new information. We’ve all been waiting for credible, reliable medical conclusions about Mr. Saakashvili’s health before anyone can know what the best course of action is. As the United States has repeatedly stated, it is important to ensure that Mr Saakashvili receives the medical care he needs and that his human rights are respected. We will remain committed to ensuring that the government takes appropriate action based on this recently released medical information.

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