Ombudsman informed about violation of rights of the Armenian minority of Georgia

On May 28, 2014, Public Defender (Ombudsman) of Georgia presented the 2013 Parliamentary Report on the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms in Georgia to representatives of civil society and diplomatic missions accredited in Georgia. Public Defender highlighted tendencies and priorities in the field of human rights covered in the 2013 Report and provided a brief overview of series of major recommendations for various branches of government.

At the meeting, Mr. Levon Isakhanyan, Head of the Legal Affairs at the Armenian Diocese in Georgia, highlighted a discriminatory approach towards restitution of property confiscated from the religious minorities in Georgia during the Soviet regime. He noted that numerous churches that historically belonged to the Armenian, Catholic, and other religious denominations, have been appropriated and used by the Georgian Orthodox Church. Mr. Isakhanyan also stressed the demolition of Armenian churches in the country, including the Mughnetsots Surb Gevorg Church (14th century) and the Surb Nshan Church (18th century), both located in one of the historic districts of Tbilisi. Another issue raised was a perception of national minorities as a potential source of instability in the country.

In addition, it was noted that some Azerbaijani officials interfered in the internal affairs of Georgia that resulted in violation of the cultural rights of the Georgian Armenian community. Mr. Isakhanyan pointed out that the Georgian authorities did not take appropriate actions to deal with this situation.

In his response, Public Defender stated that some of these issues had been addressed in the 2013 Report. Public Defender also inquired about details regarding the interference of the Azerbaijani authorities in Georgia’s internal affairs. Detailed information about this case will soon be provided to Public Defender.



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