Javakhk: Pace Monitoring Committee
Posted 26 October 2004 - 09:09 PM
Akhalkalak, A-INFO, 25 October 2004.- The members of the Council of
Europe Parliamentary Assembly Committee on the honouring of obligations
and commitments by member states of the Council of Europe (Monitoring
Committee) is visiting Georgia on 25-26 October 2004.
During their meetings the monitoring committee members will exchange
views with the representatives of Georgian Government and Parliament,
international organizations present in Georgia, international and local
NGOs and media.
On this occasion, the Council of Armenian Non-Governmental Organizations
of the Samtskhe-Javakheti Region in Georgia, on 21 October 2004, have
sent the following memorandum to the Monitoring Committee.
M E M O R A N D U M
THE SITUATION IN THE SAMTSKHE-JAVAKHETI REGION IN GEORGIA
AND GEORGIA'S OBLIGATIONS AND COMMITMENTS BEFORE THE COUNCIL OF EUROPE
Submitted to the
Committee on the Honouring of Obligations and Commitments
by Member States of the Council of Europe (Monitoring Committee)
Submitted by the
Council of Armenian Non-Governmental Organizations
of the Samtskhe-Javakheti Region in Georgia
21 October 2004
As you prepare to hold your next meeting in Georgia, we, the leaders
of the Armenian nongovernmental organizations of the Samtskhe-Javakheti
territory in Georgia, attaching great importance to the sovereignty and
territorial integrity of our country, wish to bring to your attention
the critical situation in Samtskhe-Javakheti, which if left unresolved,
could have dire consequences for the population of the territory and
for Georgia as a whole.
When joining the Council of Europe in 1999, the following were among
the obligations and commitments Georgia undertook:
a) to sign and ratify, within a year after its accession, the Framework
Convention for the Protection of National Minorities and the European
Charter for Regional or Minority Languages;
to sign and ratify, within three years after its accession, the
European Charter of Local Self-Government, [...] and in the meantime
to apply the fundamental principles of [this] instrument;
c) to enact, within two years after its accession, a legal framework
determining the status of the autonomous territories and guaranteeing
them broad autonomy, the exact terms of which are to be negotiated
with the representatives of the territories concerned;
d) to amend, within three years after its accession, the law on
autonomy and local government to enable all the heads of councils to
be elected instead of being appointed;
e) to adopt, within two years after its accession, a law on minorities
based on the principles of Assembly Recommendation 1201 (1993).
Five years after accession, Georgia has yet to take steps towards
fulfilling the above-mentioned commitments and obligations. In fact,
the process of fulfilling these commitments before the Council of
Europe has failed, and, inter alia, has made the situation in the
Samtskhe-Javakheti region critical.
The 1995 Georgian constitution does not define the administrative
structure of the country and in practice the district-level
self-government does not match democratic standards. In the
Samtskhe-Javakheti region, discriminatory laws and practices have
left the Armenian population far less represented in the district
administration. There are no elective bodies on the regional level and
there is no legislative base for the institution of state commissioners
appointed by presidential decrees. The present administrative structure
and the method of governance do not take into account the specifics of
the region and do not correspond to the needs of the population. The
system has long demonstrated that it is bankrupt and unfruitful. The
Samtskhe-Javakheti region has actually been pushed out of the governing
processes of the country.
The administrative governance of the region has been frustrated. At
the local level, flagrant discrimination is practiced against the
local Armenian population; in contrast to the rest of the country,
in the Armenian populated areas of Samtskhe-Javakheti most sakrebulos
(locally elected bodies) incorporate several villages, whereas each
Georgian populated village has a separate sakrebulo, thus artificially
increasing the Georgian presence in the rayon (district) level.
These measures, policies and practices are in direct contradiction
to the European Charter of Local Self-Government, which Georgia had
undertaken to sign and ratify within three years after its accession
and in the meantime to apply the fundamental principles of this
No short- or long-term socio-economic programs to serve the interests
of the population are implemented. The poverty and desperation have
reached threatening levels. Educational and cultural conditions are
In the last ten months, we have conveyed our concerns and
recommendations to the highest authorities in Georgia and to the
(now former) Secretary General of the Council of Europe, but to no
avail. All of them have failed to even acknowledge receipt of our
It is crucial to have the Samtskhe-Javakheti region fully integrated in
the state, political, socioeconomic and cultural lives of the country.
But integration is not synonymous to assimilation, neither is autonomy
to secession. In a democratic society, integration can only be achieved
through participation. Policies and practices pursuing assimilation
or artificial and forceful change of demographic realities can only
result in the opposite. Integration requires that both the majority
and the minority have the desire for it and the willingness to take
mutual steps towards each other.
Under the guise of integration, the Georgian authorities have
enacted laws which are contrary to the spirit and letter of the
Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities
and the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages,
which Georgia had undertaken to sign and ratify within a year
after its accession, but has failed to do so after over five years
following its accession. Furthermore, and in direct contradiction
of the above-mentioned Framework Convention and European Charter,
the Georgian authorities have recently introduced a draft law on
education, which, if enacted, would effectively prevent Georgia's
national minorities, including the Armenians, from education at all
levels in their relevant regional or minority languages.
There is no broad social-political consensus in the country on
political issues connected with ethnic diversity of Georgia and
its internal political and administrative systems. The reported
Armenian ancestry of politicians and public figures is often
regarded to be derogatory. Whereas the existence of a large number
of Armenian cultural and religious monuments, as well as historical
records speak of the fact that in Southern Georgia, including in
the Samtskhe-Javakheti region, the Armenians are natives, Georgian
society regards the Armenians in those regions as newcomers. There is
recorded evidence of attempts to "Georgianize" these monuments. The
Georgian authorities are sending contradictory messages on how
national minorities can protect and promote their linguistic and
cultural rights: whereas, on the one hand, the Georgian authorities
are undermining the linguistic and cultural rights of the law-abiding
national minorities, on the other hand, in order to appease those who
have declared their independence from Georgia, the same authorities
promise them to protect and promote their language and culture in
return for restoring Georgian sovereignty on those territories.
We are convinced that if Georgia completely and sincerely honours
its accession obligations and commitments, especially those mentioned
at the beginning of this Memorandum, it would greatly help alleviate
the serious situation in Samtskhe-Javakheti.
Hence we appeal to you, the Committee on the Honouring of Obligations
and Commitments by Member States of the Council of Europe, to ensure
that Georgia honours its commitments entered into on its accession
to the Council of Europe. We are at the disposal of your Committee
for further elaboration and discussion.
Council of Armenian Non-Governmental Organizations
of the Samtskhe-Javakheti Region in Georgia
Akhalkalaki, 21 October 2004
Posted 13 November 2004 - 10:48 PM
Posted 19 April 2011 - 06:45 AM
Парламентская Ассамблея Совета Европы 13 Апреля с.г. приняла резолюцию по Грузии, подробно затрагивающую проблемы национальных меньшинств. В частноси она призывает Грузию:
1) Увеличить участие национальных меньшинств в общественой жизни.
2) Улучшить систему образования на языках национальных меньшинств, включающую обучение и на грузинском как на втором языке.
3) Исключить все формы нетерпимости и языка ненависти по этническому и конфессиональному признаку.
4) Принять всестороннюю правовую базу, состоящую из специальных законов, для защиты национальных меньшинств.
5) Принять специальный закон o религии для предоставления равного юридического статуса всем религиозных общинам, и для решения вопроса по возврашению им имущества, конфискованного в советские годы.
6) Незамедлительно подписать Европейскую хартию по языкам национальных и региональных меньшинств.
English: Resolution of the Council of Europe on Geoprgia of April 13th
On April 13th the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe issued a resolution on Georgia, also concerning the probems with national minorities. It in particular calls Georgia:
1) To improve the participation of national minorities in public life.
2) To improve the system of language education for national minorities, including the teaching of minority languages and Georgian as a second language.
3) To fight any forms of intolerance and hate speech on the basis of ethnicity, faith.
4) To provide a comprehensive legal framework for the protection of national minorities contained in a number of specialised laws.
5) To adopt a specific law on religion that would offer proper and equal legal status, and to resolve the issues regarding the return to their respective religious properties confiscated during the Soviet era.
6) To calls upon the Georgian authorities to sign and ratify the European Charter for Regional and Minority Languages without further delay.
0 user(s) are reading this topic
0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users