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Statement of the Georgian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum

21.01.2019

 
EaP CSF Georgian National Platform once again appeals the Government of Georgia to timely elaborate the legislative framework and policy to avoid tragic accidents related in water bodies of Georgia. 

Although more than one year has passed since the National Platform first addressed to the Government of Georgia, the GoG has not yet taken effective measures to prevent tragic accidents in water bodies. The situation is still alarming – according to official statistics in April-September of 2018, 65 persons drowned in the lakes, rivers and the seas of Georgia. 
The overview of the Georgian legislation reveals that international positive obligations are not met even at the minimal standards in respect to the right to life. The national regulations do not meet the European directives in the field of water, including the requirements about the water quality. In this light, the European Commission made special decision about the classification of swimming water and introduction of common informational symbols.

Georgia does not have regulations framework about the determination risky zones in water bodies and about the obligation of their permanent monitoring; there is no action plan, which will define competences of state institutions and will coordinate the planning of prevention activities. 

Several articles of the Criminal Code of Georgia, like – negligence, hiding or faking the information about the circumstances dangerous for life or health, negligent manslaughter and endangering life, enable to impose criminal liability over those state and/or private institutions, which are obliged to take immediate measures to install barriers and warning banners nearby the water bodies. However, as the legislative regulations do not clearly differentiate competences and responsibilities, law enforcement bodies are not able to start criminal prosecution against responsible bodies/persons. 

The National Platform requests:

  • The Ministry of Internal Affairs to adopt a bylaw about the Approval the Rules for the Protection of Life and Safety of People in Water in accordance to the Law of Georgia about Public Safety, which will ensure segregation of the competences among responsible bodies;
  • Government of Georgia, considering the alarming statistics of drowned people in water, to elaborate the prevention strategy/action plan, which will envisage the following:
  • improvement of the data collection about water accident circumstances and reasons and systems of their analysis in accordance to the practical guidelines of the World Health Organization about the prevention of water accidents; 
  • to identify and document risky zones in the territory of Georgia; 
  • to place informational warning banners and barriers to restrict access to water bodies in an appropriate manner;
  • to initiate amendments in the Administrative Code of Georgia, which will establish strict sanctions for the violators of the prohibitions;
  • to conduct investigations into the tragic incidents in water bodies in accordance to the standards of positive obligations on the protection of the right to life;
  • to establish effective rescue and patrolling system in the high-risk water bodies during the season;
  • to carry out awareness raising campaign for the vulnerable groups (children, youth, tourists).
The signatory organizations: 
  • Human Rights Center
  • CENN
  • Liberal Academy – Tbilisi 
  • Free Choice
  • Journalism Resource Center
  • Civic Education Development Multi-Ethnic Resource Center
  • Association “Atinati”
  • Open Society Georgia Foundation
  • Scientific Union of Imereti Region “Spectrum”
  • Georgian Trade Union
  • Association Dea
  • Association Merkuri
  • Disarmament and No to Violence
  • Association “Peaceful and Busy Caucasus”
  • Youth Association “Droni” 
  • Youth Alternative
  • Foundation Sokhumi
  • World Experience for Georgia
  • Entrepreneur Women’s Foundation 
  • Association “School-Family-Society”
  • Human Rights House Tbilisi
  • Association of Georgian Tea Producers “Georgian Tea”
  • Studio “Monitor”
  • Penal Reform International
  • Institute for Development of Freedom of Information 
  • Energy-Effectiveness Foundation
  • Association for the Protection of Farmers’ Rights
  • International Development Agency of Georgia
  • International Business and Economic Development Center
  • Georgian Green Movement – Friends of the Earth
  • Foundation “Adgilis Deda”
  • Friendship Bridge – Kartlosi
  • Society for Harmonic Development of Individuals 
  • Foundation Partnership for Road Safety
  • Georgian Alliance for Safe Roads
  • Union for Health and Education
  • Association “Imedi”

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