On December 2, the non-governmental organizations and religious associations addressed the Georgian parliament with a Petition requesting to study the recent cases of religious violence and intolerance. The signatory organizations address the Parliament with a request to ensure parliamentary control over the government's policy and take adequate and timely reaction on recent cases of violation of freedom of religion (including the cases of religious violence and intolerance revealed in Kobuleti, Terjola, Mokhe) for the purpose of preventing violence triggered by religious hatred and to revise the ineffective policy of Georgia’s government in that regard.
As it is noted in the petition, the government is not responding adequately to the manifestations of religious extremism and it does not ensure the prevention of violation coming from individuals as well as effective investigation. According to the document, in most cases government makes discriminatory decisions, as current practice demonstrates that the state usually refrains from the use of legal and repressive mechanisms in those cases when the representatives of Orthodox congregation are committing religious violence or persecution, however, in opposition to that, its methods are repressive towards religious minorities, which were revealed during the police operation in the villages of Chela and Mokhe. Petition indicates on violation of the principle of institutional independence of the investigation as investigation of these aforementioned cases are conducted by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, despite of substantiated appeals and complaints by the victims, rather than the Prosecutor’s Office.
The signatory organizations critically assess the policy implemented by the State Agency on Religious Affairs and say that its intervention has not led to any tangible results in terms of solving existing problems.
Signatory organizations address the Parliament to review this petition under the Rules of Procedure of the Parliament and ensure its public discussion and ensure parliamentary control over the activities of executive brunch, including the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor’s Office, the State Agency on Religious Affairs and of relevant local municipalities.
Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC);
Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI);
Media Development Foundation (MDF);
Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI);
Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA);
Evangelical Faith Church;
Yazidi Spiritual Council;
Georgian Muslims Union;
Seventh-day Adventist Church;
Mufti of Karli region;
Mufti of Khulo;
Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Holy church in Georgia.