Georgia’’s former public defender Nino Lomjaria has received the Global Human Rights Defender Awards, the United States Department of State said on Wednesday.
Lomjaria, who took the post between 2017 and 2022 and faced severe criticism from the current Georgian Dream authorities for her efforts in various cases, including the one related to currently imprisoned former president Mikhel Saakashvili, has featured among the ten recipients of the award.
The US Department of State said the winners from across the globe had demonstrated leadership and courage while promoting and defending human rights and fundamental freedoms, countering and exposing human rights abuses by governments and businesses, and rallying action to protect the environment, improve governance, and secure accountability and an end to impunity.
It said under her leadership, the Public Defender’s Office of Georgia was “widely considered the most independent democratic institution in Georgia”.
“Throughout her tenure, Nino and her team advocated strengthened human rights protections for all, at times under intense political pressure; they maintained their independence throughout. The PDO’s work to fight discrimination, and to defend the rights of children, people with disabilities, prisoners, LGBTQI+ persons, and members of religious minorities, without regard to political affiliation, has endeavored to build a democratic state that lives up to the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of its citizens”, said the body.
Before her election to the post, Lomjaria chaired the International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy domestic watchdog and served as a deputy auditor general of the country.