Mikheil Saakashvili

Lord Collins of Highbury Excerpts
Thursday 13th January 2022

(5 months, 2 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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My Lords, I agree with the noble Lord about the importance of the request by the European Court of Human Rights to the Government of Georgia that they ensure the safety of Mr Saakashvili and inform the court about the applicant’s current state of health. We will continue to make that case and, as I said earlier, to ensure that he is given both the right to legal representation and medical care.

Lord Collins of Highbury Portrait Lord Collins of Highbury (Lab)
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My Lords, the former president’s detention is symptomatic of the greater problem of the deterioration of human rights in Georgia, particularly labour rights. According to the Georgian Trade Unions Confederation, just last year 22 workers died in one month alone. Can the Minister tell us, like he did yesterday, what he is doing to raise human rights and to work with the ILO to ensure that Georgia meets the obligations of that organisation, to which Georgia is also committed?

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Portrait Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con)
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The noble Lord is quite right to draw attention to the issue of human rights and, if I could term it thus, the democratic backsliding that at times we have seen on rights generally across Georgia. I assure him that we are engaging directly. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary mentioned the importance of promoting democratic values, which is central to our foreign policy. On 1 December, during discussions with the Georgian Government in Tbilisi, our regional director for eastern Europe and central Asia raised important issues around various elements of human rights and, beyond that, the politicisation of appointments. There has also been a decline in LGBT rights; the noble Lord will be aware of the attack on the Pride march. All of this forms part of our engagement directly with Georgia.