The non-governmental organization “Civic IDEA” joins the protest of ethnic minorities and the civic platform “Salam” and supports the campaign “I am not a Diaspora”, which was launched over the issue of national minorities within the Diaspora and Caucasus Issues Committee of the Georgian Parliament.
Any initiative that connects the issue of the citizens living in Georgia to the Diaspora Committee is wrong and objectionable. The committee treats Georgian citizens of different nationalities as a diaspora. In this way, the Parliament and the state of Georgia confirm that they view ethnic minorities as strangers.
Civic IDEA states that such decisions undermine the idea of civic equality, integration and make it impossible to form a united civil nation in Georgia.
Such assessments are particularly troubling in the light of the fact that in recent years, a large part of the Azerbaijani community in Georgia has openly opposed the rhetoric and policies of neighboring countries regarding their consideration as a diaspora. This decision reinforces the idea of ethnic minorities’ affiliation with other states.
Since the 1990s, Georgia has not been able to overcome the narrative of ethnoreligious nationalism that “Georgian means Christian” and the rest is considered as “guest” or “other”. Instead of equality and inclusion principles, the state policy towards ethnic minorities is largely based on problematic narratives such as security, linguistic-cultural dominance, and social exclusion. The state fails to properly comprehend the deep and pervasive inequality towards non-dominant groups because of the historical neglect and the dominant gaze.
Civic IDEA calls on the Parliament to take all measures, including legislative measures, for the full participation of ethnic minorities in public and political life, which should be one of the central issues on the political agenda in this country, unlike the similar decisions that go against their interests.
Also, it is necessary to take appropriate measures to protect the principle of a secular state;
Civic IDEA has been actively working and speaking about the problems of ethnic minorities in Georgia, the solutions of systemic difficulties related to the integration of minorities, and the real inclusion of minorities in the united Georgian state.
On January 28, Civic IDEA published a study on the problems of ethnic minorities identified during the pandemic – “Virus of Urgency, Part #2”. Unfortunately, this report confirms the problems of alienation and once again calls on the authorities to be prudent and take more responsibility for the state’s ethnic minorities.