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ECR Group nominates pro-European people of Georgia and Nino Lomjaria, former Public Defender of Georgia, for 2023 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

2023 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought

The ECR Group has nominated the pro-European people of Georgia and Nino Lomjaria, former Public Defender of Georgia, for the 2023 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.

After regaining independence in 1991 just before the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Georgian people passionately rebuilt a democratic state and chose the path of reorientation towards the Euro-Atlantic community. Successive governments since the Rose Revolution have contributed to this process, further advancing Georgia’s Euro-Atlantic integration and achieving substantial results, while overcoming numerous obstacles and even direct threats to the integrity and sovereignty of their country from Russia’s imperial policies. In recent years, the people of Georgia have repeatedly risen to the defence of their country, fought fiercely for their rights and aspirations, positively influenced government decisions and formed the core of the country’s resilience.

Throughout this struggle, one individual stands out as a beacon of unwavering inspiration: Nino Lomjaria. Over the course of her tenure as Georgia’s public defender, she has successfully defended the rights of those who fled the Russian-occupied regions of Georgia and ethnic and religious minorities, and strengthened human rights protection, particularly for children and people with disabilities. Despite immense pressure, she has had the courage to stand up for those facing various forms of discrimination, as in the case of the rights of imprisoned former President Mikheil Saakashvili. Nino Lomjaria and her team have also helped to safeguard pluralism and freedom of expression in Georgia. Their indelible courage, along with their modesty and professionalism, regardless of political affiliation, have helped to strengthen Georgia’s democracy, which is in line with the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of its citizens.

Speaking after the vote in the group meeting, ECR MEP Anna Fotyga who sponsored this nomination said:

“I know the Georgian people very well and I firmly believe that they deserve our respect and highest recognition. Our nomination shows that the entire ECR Group supports Georgia’s quest for freedom and unity with the West in every possible way. We pay tribute to what the Georgian people have achieved and the direction they have taken, sometimes against enormous obstacles. I am glad that there are people like Nino Lomjaria who have made an invaluable contribution to their country’s democracy and Euro-Atlantic aspirations”.

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