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Tuesday, 25 October 2016


Tolerance enforcement

2010-06-16 09:56

6168.pngOn June 15 the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) came up with a report on discrimination of ethnic and other minorities in Georgia. According to Nils Muiznieks, the commission's chair, Georgia proposes "positive initiatives in fighting discrimination on the grounds of "race", colour, language, religion, nationality or national or ethnic origin". The report also features legislation issues, status of minorities, combating discrimination in education and employment, and "race" issues in politics. Activities of Georgia's ombudsman are assessed positively in the report as well as his "significant role in combating discrimination" particularly after signature of a


Memorandum on protection of rights of national minorities by Georgy Tugushi, the Public Defender and Teymuraz Yakobashvili, state minister for reintegration in December 2009.

The report also contains recommendations for the Georgian authorities to be complied with in the next two years - the interval when the Commission presents reports. The previous report (the second one) on Georgia was released in 2007. Here are recommendations European activists fighting racism and intolerance make to the young Georgian democracy. First of all, it's a reform on teaching the Georgian language to pupils and students from ethnic minorities and creation of a strategy to integrate Meskhetian Turks into society. Besides, the report points to offences against Jehovah's Witnesses and Muslins, as well as social vulnerability of gypsies. Remarkably, these are issues referred to by all the media presenting news on the report. It is little wonder there is "a hidden part of the iceberg" which goes second.

The report makers again (!) recommend that the Georgian leaders promptly sign the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the Convention on Participation of Foreigners in Public Life at Local Level and the European Convention on Nationality. Besides, ECRI advises that Tbilisi ratify the Convention on Cybercrime and sign its Additional Protocol on criminalization of acts of "a racist and xenophobic nature committed through computer systems". Another important recommendation is to sign and ratify the Convention on the Protection of Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of Their Families. The report makers are resentful over the lack of amendments in the Criminal Code with regard to provisions to combat racism and intolerance since the adoption of ECRI's second report as well as imperfect use of current legislation.

Education is a much more acute issue in the report than it was presented in the news. It is recommended that Georgian-speaking teachers who deal with pupils from ethnic minorities know the local minority language. Besides the Commission against Racism and Intolerance considers it essential to ensure exchanges of students for Georgia's minority enclaves like Javakhetia and Kvemo Kartly to settle inter-ethnic contacts between pupils. In view of a rather tense situation in the regions above, this recommendation looks like tolerance enforcement. Another important recommendation is secularized education and "religious neutrality" which looks more than radical with the Georgian Orthodox Church dominating in the country.

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