MINELRES: Georgia: Two statements of minority NGO on relations between the Parliament and ethnic minorities

MINELRES moderator minelres@lists.delfi.lv
Thu Feb 13 07:36:58 2003

Original sender: Arnold Stepanian <arnostep@yahoo.com>


37 Rustaveli Ave., 5th entr., 2nd floor,
Tel/Fax: (995 32) 99 87 90 
Tel: (995 32) 99 52 28
E-mail: mng_a@yahoo.com

Is there a tunnel at the end of the light?

Is Parliament of Georgia Ignoring the Views of the ethnic minorities'

On 30 January 2003 the parliamentary committee on Civil Integration
(Chairman Besik Lagvilava) discussed the draft-law "On State Language of
Georgia" and the ways to secure the functioning of the state language in
the regions of Samtskhe-Javakheti (ethnic Armenians live compactly) and
Kvemo Kartli (ethnic Azeris live compactly). Unfortunately, none of
representatives from minority NGOs, except the Czech community (?!), was
invited to the hearing.  Aforementioned fact is an evidence of negative
attitude and negligence from the side of current leadership of the
Committee on Civil Integration towards the views of the ethnic
minorities that have been repeatedly reflected lately.

That happens against the background of the events of 5 December 2002
when while having the discussion on so called "Concept of Policy in the
sphere of integration of the ethnic minorities" organized by above
mentioned Committee, the representatives of minority communities left
the session hall (The appeal of the representatives of ethnic
communities of 20 December 2002 is attached).

It seems, that such attitude of the Committee on Civil Integration
demonstrates tendentiousness and is intended to change the course from
the civil integration to the total disintegration of the society.
We take the liberty of asking you to take into consideration this letter
and respond to it as we are aware that such acts cast a shadow on the
whole of Parliament and lays ground to the problems, including:
worsening of the environment of the inter-ethnic relations, breaking off
the link of cooperation between the Parliament and NGOs of minority
communities, raising of mistrust towards the decisions taken by the
Parliament without respecting the views of target groups.  The
consequences of such practice will be undesirable to all citizens of

The members of the Board of the Public Movement Multinational Georgia.



With regard to the discussion of the "Concept on the Policy in the
Sphere of Integration of Ethnic Minorities" drafted by the parliamentary
Committee on Civil Integration, the Public Movement Multinational
Georgia declares that this document:

- needs further deliberation in terms of its non-compliance with the
legal normative acts of Georgia; 
- contains a number of mutually exclusive provisions;
- includes the notions with superficial definitions of some terms;
- to a great extent is focused on protection of ethnic minorities'
rights rather than on "implementation of the policy in the sphere of
integration of ethnic minorities".

Although many of provisions of the concept duplicate the international
normative-legal acts, Conventions, Treaties, Recommendations and other
documents in the sphere of protection of the ethnic minorities, the
Concept in such form cannot be considered as a realistic one due to the
existing grave social and economic situation in the country, in
particular due to the lack of financial resources necessary for
realization of the Concept's provisions.

We do believe that the principles declared in the Concept, apparently,
constitute the "guarantees for protection of ethnic minorities, and
promote development of national cultures and languages", actually they
mislead the population of Georgia.  The authors of the Concept had no
prior consultations with the representatives of minorities'
organizations, which are target groups of the Concept.  In addition, the
"discussion" of the Concept held on 5 December 2002 at the session of
Committee on Civil Integration of the Parliament of Georgia, with
participation of heads of ethnic communities' organizations and other
representatives of non-governmental sector, was non-constructive because
of limitations from organizers' side in expressing by some ethnic
minorities organizations' representatives their position concerning
remarks on mentioned Concept. The given situation, taking place at the
same time on the background of discriminative sayings towards
communities' representatives present, caused protest of the latter which
was expressed in collective leaving of conference-hall.

It is necessary to note also that such treatment is radically incorrect
and is able to renew passivity from ethnic minorities' side in
implementation of integration policy. In its turn it will be irreparable
damage in case of civil society building in Georgia, and will hurt last
years' achievements in sphere of civil integration as well.

We also think that civil integration implies, first of all,
consolidation of population by civil principle and discussion of the
given issue both in regions where ethnic minorities compactly live and
regions mainly inhabited by ethnic majority. So for implementation of
civil integration processes it is necessary support and participation of
not only ethnic minorities, but also ethnic majority. Proceeding from
abovementioned, we consider that it is necessary to look through
directions of mentioned Concept once more, from "policy in national
minorities' integration field" to policy in field of civil integration.

Press-service of Public Movement Multinational Georgia