Substantively Close, Legislatively Afar: Disparities between Citizens and Permanent Residents in Georgia
Sammanfattning: This thesis explores the legal position of permanent residents as compared to that of citizens in the case study of Georgia. With this aim, the thesis first examines the general legal system of the case study and delves into its sphere-specific regulations, which restrict access to different areas of life to permanent residents. The thesis then applies the standards extrapolated from the international human rights law (IHRL) to the findings of the case study, with a special emphasis on the operational standards of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Throughout the analysis, the thesis employs the substantive understanding of equality to assess the case study findings, as well as to discover and examine the gaps within the IHRL itself. Additionally, this research explores the roots of the deeply ingrained exclusion of non-citizens and, in this regard, examines the interconnection between the concept citizenship and a modern sovereign state. The thesis has identified that permanent residents in Georgia are subject to exclusionary regulations in healthcare, social security, labour market and economic activities. In some of these areas the exclusion is absolute (for instance, permanent residents are banned from becoming public servants), whereas in others the prohibition is partial (they have access to some of the state healthcare programmes). However, the effect of these restrictions is not limited to specific spheres; but in combination these restrictions also create an exclusionary regime that negatively affects the overall quality of life of permanent residents. The assessment of the regulatory regime of Georgia revealed that some areas of exclusion in the legal system of Georgia can be evaluated as against the standards of the IHRL (as provided through the ECHR). However, the thesis additionally details the gaps and insufficiencies within the IHRL itself by identifying the spheres that are specifically eschewed from its protective regime, or the areas where the protective standards are not sufficient.
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