MINELRES: Union of Georgian Repatriates: Project completed, public diplomacy will proceed

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.delfi.lv
Fri Nov 1 11:57:00 2002

Original sender: Marat Baratashvili <marat@geo.net.ge>

Dear friends,

We offer for your attention the press release of the Union of Georgian

Best regards,

Marat Baratashvili,
President of the Union of Georgian Repatriates.

Phone: (995 32) 79 25 10
E-mail: marat@geo.net.ge

The project is completed, public diplomacy - will proceed
The press release of Union of Georgian Repatriates 

On October, 24-26, 2002 in Tbilisi the Workshop "Generalisation of
experience of repatriation of Meskhetians in Georgia and co-ordination
of efforts of  NGOs from different ethnic groups" was held. It was the
fifth, final activity which has been carried out by Union of Georgian
Repatriates within the framework of the eleven-monthly project
"Inter-ethnic dialogues for nonconflict repatriation". The project was
carried out at support of Council of Europe.

Let's remind, that the previous 4 activities were: 

January, 2002 - Workshop "Familiarising NGOs of Georgia with experience
of co-operation of NGOs of Crimean tatars  and Ukrainian NGOs at
repatriation of deported Crimean tatars in Ukraine";

March, 2002 - AVP training - seminar  (Project Alternative to Violence); 

July, 2002 - Seminar - dialogue of  women; 

August, 2002 - Seminar - dialogue of youth.

The representatives of both majority and minority of Georgia and
representatives of deported Meskhetian population took part in all
activities of the project. All activities were directed on achievement
of interethnic mutual understanding on the eve of voluntary and
step-by-step repatriation of deported Meskhetians.

The representatives of NGOs of Georgian, Azerbaijanian, Armenian
(including from Samtskhe-Javakheti), Russian ethnic communities from
Georgia, representatives of Union of Cossacks of Caucasus and NGOs of
deported Meskhetians from Georgia have taken part in work of the last

At the Workshop there were also foreign visitors: from Germany Ms. Katja
Diessenbacher, MA, Scientific Collaborator, Head of Project of the
International Research Center for East - West Relations ("Shevardnadze
Center") and from Great Britain c, MA, journalist, Fellow of Memory
Winston Churchill Trust. Ms. Irina Achba, representative of Tbilisi
Information Office of Council of Europe observed work during the first
session of the Workshop.

Participants have discussed all components of the past project and have
given a high estimation to the done work. They have carried out
discussions under three basic reports: 

1. "Development of the approaches to issue of restoration of the rights
of the deported Meskhetian population in the independent Georgia",
speaker - Dr. G.Mamulia (NGO "Center to Assistance of Repatriation of
Deported Meskhetian Population"). 

2. "Mental socio-economic aspects of adaptation and integration of
repatriates in Georgia", speaker - Mr. Marat Baratashvili (president of
NGO Union of Georgian Repatriates). 

3. "Role of MASS-MEDIA for maintenance of the inter-ethnic consent
during the repatriation of Meskhetians in polyethnic society", speaker -
Mr. E. Adelkhanov (Deputy Head of The Caucasian Institute for Peace,
Democracy and Development). 

With the large interest participants have familiarized with interethnic
component of last projects of Union "PATRIA",  presentation of  Ms.
Katja Diessenbacher, fresh impressions of Mr. Dan Brennan from trips to
Southern Georgia (Samtskhe-Javakheti) and Mugan steppe of Azerbaijan,
where live deported Meskhetians. After performance of Ms. Nana Tsereteli
(member of coordination council of CRINGO Network) "CIS Conference,
program "FRESTA", Caucasian NGOs network "CRINGO Network" some NGOs
began to think seriously about entry into this network. 

All participants consider there is necessary wide involving of the
international organizations in process of forthcoming repatriation of
deported Meskhetians in Georgia. All participants consider that the
cooperation with Council of Europe was very useful and it should be
continued. Brain storm "What can we do for non-conflict repatriation of
deported Meskhetians in Georgia?" has revealed large potential for the
further cooperation between interethnic NGOs. Absolutely all
participants considered it obligatory to continue interethnic dialogue
in society for the further discussion of various aspects of Meskhetian
problem. At the Workshop some participants have already begun to agree
about the future joint projects.

After preliminary work in small groups the participants of the Workshop
at general session accepted the joint document "Recommendations to the
Georgia's Government for nonconflict repatriation". The representatives
of interethnic NGOs of Georgia, in particular, have called government of
Georgia to speed up adoption of the law about repatriation of deported
Meskhetians with the solution of questions of citizenship on the
simplified procedure. They regard necessary performance of the PACE
resolution 1257 from September 25, 2001, according to which is necessary
to recognize deported Meskhetians as victims of political reprisals. The
document spoke about necessity to execute the appropriate Decree of the
President of Georgia about the entry of Georgia into Bank of Development
of Council of Europe. Each item of the accepted document is directed on
achievement of non-conflict forthcoming repatriation of Meskhetians into