Refugees and Migration
The United Nations Association of Georgia, under the Refugee Council of Georgia Program, was involved in a training/workshop for Judges and Lawyers on Refugee and Human Rights Law. The two-day training was led by Ms. Urara Furukawa, Head of the Protection Unit, UNHCR BO Tbilisi; Mr. James Simeon, Acting Executive Director of the International Association of Refugee Law Judges, from Canada; Ms. Susan Clements, Lawyer at the Registry of the European Court of Human Rights, from UK; Ms. Natia Tskepladze, Judge at the Supreme Court of Georgia and Mr. Kote Korkelia, Georgian expert on European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR).
Participants in this training included some 26 judges from Tbilisi City Court's administrative, administrative appeals and criminal law panels, a representative from the Ministry of Refugees and Accommodation and two lawyers from the Supreme Council of Justice.
The aim of this workshop was to enhance the knowledge and skills of the newly appointed judges who deal or may have to deal with refugee-related cases in the future. The first day of the workshop included an introduction to the UNHCR mandate and international protection of refugees, an introduction to international refugee law, public international law and the Georgian judiciary, a discussion on and comparison of International Law with national legislation, a presentation of the 1951 Geneva Convention and 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees and other issues relating to determining refugee status and the practice of courts in Georgia. The second day was devoted to an introduction to the International Association of Refugee Law Judges and the activities of this body, a presentation by the ECHR and its role in the protection of refugees, as well as the application of the ECHR and the European Court of Human Rights laws in Georgia.
Following these presentations, participants then divided into groups and where given the opportunity to discuss case studies focusing on Inter alia, the proper use of the term “refugee,” the identification of asylum requests and various questions related to the process of determining refugee status. Many problematic issues, concerns and challenges were revealed during these group discussions. Participants were provided with useful material, such as International treaties - including the Convention relating to the Status of Refugee of 28 July 1951 and 1967 Protocol relating to the Convention, the ECHR - additional Protocols, as well as a complete set of Georgian legislation on Refugees and Aliens. At the end of the workshop, participants were also given the opportunity to become familiar with refugee protection-related problems in Georgia.