Ambassador Kelly’s Remarks to news media at the roundtable on State Response to Early Marriage Issue (March 29)
Question about the event
I was very pleased to participate in today’s event. It is very important that these issues get an open airing – and that the public is made aware of the (adverse) issues of early marriage. Spousal abuse, occurring in many cases of early marriage, of course, is a crime. It robs girls of their future and in many cases, leads to violence. This is just something that has to be discussed frankly and openly. I applaud the Georgian Young Layers’ Association for arranging this and we were very happy to support.
Question about the UN Security Council’s condemnation of Russia’s activities in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and Ukraine’s initiative to make joint statement condemning these actions
We supported the declaration of the UN Human Rights Commission. It just stated the obvious — that there are human rights abuses going on. Georgia’s territorial integrity has been undermined and its sovereignty has come under question. It is important that light is shed on these issues and that people be allowed access into these areas. There should be a full and public airing of all the issues.
Question about the law of wiretapping going into force
We have followed this issue very closely. Obviously, every democratic society needs to have oversight of its surveillance activities, its security services and its law enforcement. We stand ready to provide whatever advice the Parliament seeks – be it the ruling party or the opposition. We consider the main issue here to be oversight — parliamentary and judicial oversight — to prevent the abuse of power.
Question about reducing the number of self-governing cities — civilians will not be able to directly elect the governors or mayors
I do not know the details. The important thing is that there is a dialogue between the opposition and the ruling party – and that all the opinions of all the stakeholders in the regions’ local government are taken into consideration. I hope that there will be a good discussion in the Parliament on the issue.