EU Ambassador Janos Herman awarded young winners of the competition "Me – Ombudsman" (04/02/2015)
On February 4, the EU Ambassador Janos Herman awarded young winners of the competition "Me – Ombudsman" for students between 13 to18 years old organised by the Public Defender's Office.
The Ambassador addressed the participants: "This year, around 500 students participated, not only from Tbilisi but also from the regions. This is significant because, in addition to the students, their families, friends and teachers, are now more knowledgeable about human rights and the role of the Georgian Public Defender. The EU is working to build a culture of human rights in cooperation with the Public Defender, but also the Government and NGOs. The Public Defender works independently and expresses voices and opinions which are free. So do also NGOs. Free exchange of opinions is the cornerstone of any democratic society, where free citizens can participate. In this spirit we encourage all our partners including authorities to promote free speech and democracy in Georgia, based on an open and cooperative approach".
When approached by journalists, the Ambassador said: "Functioning of NGOs and the existence of strong civil society organisations is essential, especially in a country which is at the stage of rapid transformation. In the EU their role is enormous. In Georgia, I believe, the civil society has reached significant development. Open cooperation between the civil society and the state is also very important. This is essential for the implementation of the Association Agreement. I would like to stress the good work by GYLA, TI and ISFED. The EU cooperates with them and expresses support to these organisations".