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Press release: Georgia: UN experts urge responsible business conduct to tackle work accidents and pollution

The Government of Georgia and businesses in the country must take urgent, robust action to address critical business and human rights challenges, say a group of UN human rights experts. “We were alarmed at how a decade of deregulation aimed at attracting foreign investment has become a carte blanche for irresponsible business practices,” said Surya Deva, Chairperson of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, presenting a statement at the end of a 10-day visit to the country. “The dramatic situation of workplace deaths and injuries as well as severe environmental pollution by mining is a sad reflection of this situation. Last year alone, 59 deaths and 199 injuries were reported, though the real number is likely to be much higher, as before 2018 employers were neither required to report accidents to the labour inspectors nor insure their workers.” The Working Group welcomed initial steps by the Government to rein in irresponsible business practices, after a decade with no labour inspections and weak regulation and oversight of development projects, including in the hydropower and mining sectors.