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UN rights chief voices concern over Georgia's state of emergency

UN rights chief voices concern over Georgia's state of emergency

Louise Arbour
Reacting with concern to the imposition of a state of emergency in Georgia, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights today said the independence of the country's Public Defender must be respected.

In a statement released in Geneva, Louise Arbour said she was “particularly worried over reports of disproportionate use of force, including against Georgia's Public Defender, the detention of opposition leaders and the beating of demonstrators.”

She also expressed concern that independent television stations have reportedly been raided by special forces and made to stop broadcasting.

“The High Commissioner expressed her support for the Public Defender and stressed that his independence and inviolability must be respected at all times.”

Georgia is a State party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which stipulates that fundamental rights, such as the right to life, the prohibition of arbitrary detention, torture and cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment, cannot be suspended, even in times of emergency, the statement pointed out.

“Any restriction of rights must be proportionate and may only be applied to the extent and for the time strictly required by the situation,” the High Commissioner said.