In light of the events developed in Racha and Guria in 2023, GYLA held presentation of Advocacy Document concerning the legislation and practice of handling the risks of natural disasters in Georgia.
Advocacy Document – Human Rights Amid Natural Disasters – looks into the circumstances surrounding the natural disasters that struck Racha in August 2023 and Guria in September 2023. The document raises some important questions regarding the causes behind natural disasters as well as the efficiency of the management of the rescue efforts. The presentation of the Advocacy Document prepared with the support of the Open Society Georgia Foundation was held on November 13, 2023, by GYLA.
The Document reviews the current legal framework and identifies the circumstances, all of which require further investigation, research, and analysis in order to determine what caused the tragedies in Racha and Guria, whether it was possible to prevent human casualties, who must be held responsible, and what measures should be taken to avert comparable threats in the future.
It should be noted that there has been a considerable decline in the quality of accessibility to public information in the country. For this reason, along with publishing the content, the document seeks to retrieve public information. The GYLA intends to provide the public with a thorough account of the responses that the agencies return when the legally mandated time limits for obtaining public information have expired.
As regards the methodology, the Advocacy Document analyzes legislation pertaining to the risk management of natural disasters in light of both, the national and international obligations of Georgia. The document also examines the existing policy documents, strategies, and action plans in the country in the field of natural disaster risk management in order to better visualize the challenges and needs the State is facing; also, how the goals and specific actions defined by these documents are fulfilled. Based on publicly available official documents and information disseminated by the media, the paper describes problems, challenges, and alleged violations that might have occurred when state bodies in Racha and Guria carried out operations linked to handling the risks posed by the natural disaster. The document also highlights international standards for conducting effective investigations and identifies shortcomings in the current investigative process.
Published by Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association with the financial support of the Open Society Georgia Foundation. The views, opinions, and statements expressed by the authors and those providing comments are theirs only and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Foundation. Therefore, the Open Society Georgia Foundation is not responsible for the content of the information material.
 See IDFI, Access to Public Information in Georgia 2022, available at: https://idfi.ge/public/upload/00_studies/2023/access_to_public_information_in_georgia_2022.pdf , [26.10.2023].