Reports about minorities in Georgia.

Georgian Dream is preparing a bill against “ideology of pseudo-liberals” and “wilful propaganda of non-traditional lifestyle”

By | March 1st, 2024|Categories: Minorities, Politics|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgian Dream is in the process of preparing a legislative initiative to "protect society from pseudo-liberal ideology" and its inevitable harmful consequences." The country may face such a situation when "we will be asked to legalize the so-called civil partnership", says Mamuka Mdinaradze, majority leader at the parliament. Opposition political parties dub this as empty [...]

New survey points to increasingly positive attitudes in Georgia toward minorities, LGBT+ individuals

By | February 15th, 2022|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , |

(DFWatch) TBILISI, DFWatch – Georgians are increasingly positive about minorities, including LGBT+ people, according to the new survey commissioned by The Council of Europe Office in Georgia, which covers a period between 2018 and 2021. The CoE presented key findings of the study Monday, which demonstrates that knowledge and appreciation of diversity in Georgian society increased [...]

Georgian ombudsman names priest, blogger as organizers of July 5 anti-LGBTQ rally and calls for their prosecution

By | September 6th, 2021|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , |

Zurab Makharadze (center with a microphone) and Archpriest Spiridon (left, with a wooden cross) at the rally in front of parliament. (Megatv.ge) The ombudsman calls for the prosecution of an ultra-nationalist journalist and an archpriest of the Georgian Orthodox Church for organizing violence against journalists and LGBTQ rights activists. Ombudsman Nino Lomjaria said 53 people have [...]

Groups say 25-year old’s fatal stabbing in Tbilisi was motivated by xenophobia

By | October 12th, 2018|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , |

Vitali Safarov (Facebook). TBILISI, DFWatch--A young human rights activist who was stabbed to death in Tbilisi nearly two weeks ago was murdered by members of a neo-Nazi group, Georgian civic activists say. Vitali Safarov, a 25 year old employee of a Georgian non-governmental organization (NGO) advocating minority rights, was severely beaten and stabbed several [...]

Gay rights rally canceled in Tbilisi following pressure from far-right groups

By | May 17th, 2018|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

In 2017, activist in Tbilisi met under strict security to observe the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). (Rustavi 2.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Organizers have called off a gay rights rally in Tbilisi out of security concerns. The rally should have been held in front of the government building in Tbilisi to mark the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). “Considering all existing […]

Integration of ethnic Azeris starts with language

By | March 24th, 2018|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , |

The Constitution of Georgia stipulates that the state language of country is Georgian. The status of the official language creates grounds for, on the one hand, the social isolation and exclusion from economic and political spheres of people who do not speak Georgian and, on the other hand, the banning on the use of a minority language in administrative domains. […]

Rally for transgender rights thwarted by egg-throwing ‘family values’ activists

By | March 9th, 2018|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

Guram Palavandishvili was detained for throwing a raw egg. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Anti-gay activists thwarted a demonstration for transgender rights in Tbilisi Thursday. Police detained one person for throwing a raw egg at the group of LGBTQ protesters who had gathered outside the House of Justice to demand smoother procedures […]

Integration of ethnic Azeris starts with language: challenges in quality education and employment

By | February 27th, 2018|Categories: Minorities|

In Soviet times, the great majority of the population of Georgia spoke Russian, which served as the language of inter-ethnic communication. 66 year old Bayram Abbasov, resident of Telaveri village of Bolnisi district, describes that since Russian was the common language, they had little or no knowledge of Georgian. “We did not feel disenfranchised if we [...]

Either school or hijab – “my daughters will not go to school without hijab!”

By | October 18th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , |

According to official statistics 10,7% of the Georgian population – about 399,000 persons – are Muslims. 333,000 of them are ethnic Azerbaijani. Part of them thinks that in accordance to the Muslim tradition, a girl shall wear a hijab over 14. “I want to learn and become a teacher. If I do not study, I know in future I will have hard life. I was not allowed into the school because I am wearing a hijab. I do not know what will happen now. […]

South Ossetia declares Jehovah’s Witnesses ‘extremists’

By | October 16th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

Sonya Khubaeva. TBILISI, DFWatch–The supreme court in the breakaway region South Ossetia has ruled that Jehovah’s Witnesses is an extremist organization and banned its activities. When the ruling comes into force in a few days, Jehovah’s Witnesses members will face up to 10 years […]

Ethnic Armenians clash with police in south of Georgia

By | October 2nd, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Ethnic Armenians clashed with police in a village in the south of Georgia on Saturday after locals attempted to place a religious stone in the yard of Kumurdo temple. The tense situation in the village Kumurdo calmed down on Sunday but the brief street […]

Rally in Tbilisi to demand ‘illegal’ immigrants kicked out

By | July 15th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , |

Organizers of the rally, including Sandro Bregadze (right), hold an icon of King Davit IV Aghmashenebeli. (Facebook/Nini Ketelauri.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Nationalist groups in Georgia mobilized supporters Friday for an anti-immigration rally in the center of Tbilisi. Activists carrying flags and slogans for nationalist causes demanded ‘illegal’ immigrants kicked out of the country and called on authorities to bring […]

Constitutional Court overturns ban on gay men donating blood – again

By | July 13th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Constitutional Court has overturned a ban on donation of blood by men who have had sex with other men. The lawsuit to lift the ban was filed by LGBT rights activists Gocha Gabodze and Levan Berianidze. The ban on donating blood for ‘a man who has had a sexual […]

Gay pride film screening canceled in Tbilisi after bomb threat

By | May 20th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The screening of a gay pride film in a Tbilisi park had to be canceled Friday evening after someone called in a bomb threat. LGBT people, rights activists and others, mainly youth, had gathered in Mziuri Park for a screening of the British historical comedy […]

Four years after violence, Tbilisi’s LGBT activists meet under tight security

By | May 18th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Four years after a mob of thousands of people violently attacked them, Georgia’s LGBT community needed strict security to observe The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) on Wednesday. Several […]

Batumi City Hall turns down request to build second mosque

By | May 13th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The city hall in Georgia’s second largest city Batumi has rejected an application for permission to build a second mosque in the 150,000 strong city. In the largely Muslim city there has been a several decades long conflict about whether to allow a second mosque. […]

Too young to tie the knot

By | March 30th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Seven of Taso Tsatiashvili’s daughers were married before they turned 18. (DFWatch.) IORMUGHANLO, DFWatch–Although Georgia has brought in a more restrictive marriage law, the problems of child marriage and arranged engagements persist, especially in areas with a minority population. A study carried out by the United Nations Population […]

Four transgender women attacked at Tbilisi nightclub

By | February 8th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Four transgender women are being treated for cuts after an attack at a nightclub in downtown Tbilisi, the capital of the former Soviet republic of Georgia. The incident occurred at 7am Monday on Elbakidze Street, near Rustaveli, one of the main metro stations in the city. […]

In pictures: Sunday prayer in Batumi mosque

By | January 16th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

BATUMI, DFWatch–One Sunday in December, Muslims are cramming into the Orta Jame mosque in Batumi. Despite a three decades long effort to get permission to build a second mosque, they still have only one mosque to go to despite the city’s sizable Muslim population. […]

Culture house in Pankisi may close following ‘intentional’ fire

By | January 6th, 2017|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A culture house in the Pankisi Gorge in the northern part of Kakheti may close after a fire that staff say was deliberately started. The fire on Tuesday didn’t cause much damage, but a spokesperson for the organization which runs the center […]

Fire at Pankisi culture center was ‘intentionally set’

By | January 4th, 2017|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

(Radio Way.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A fire that broke out at a culture house in the Pankisi Gorge was intentionally started, a spokesperson for the center told a local radio station. The building is located in Duisi, the largest village of Pankisi, a mountainous area of Georgia inhabited predominantly […]

Catholics and Protestants welcome Christmas several places in Georgia

By | December 26th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , |

Father Philipe conducted the Catholic mass in Rabati, Akhaltsikhe. (Samkhretis Karibche.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The arrival of Christmas was observed Saturday night at several churches in Georgia with Midnight Mass at the Catholic Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church in Tbilisi and in the Protestant Holy Trinity Church in Batumi. The ceremony in Batumi […]

Christians begin open air prayer on disputed ruins in Mokhe

By | December 23rd, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

(DFWatch.) ADIGENI, DFWatch–A dispute about the ruins of a mosque in the village Mokhe in the south of Georgia has deteriorated further after Christians began conducting prayer on the site. Muslims began holding Friday prayers on the ruins two months ago and did not stop […]

Compromise it took two years to plan failed to solve mosque dispute

By | December 5th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

(Tariel Nakaidze.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Muslims in Mokhe in southern Georgia do not accept a compromise suggested by a government commission and continue to pray on the ruins of a mosque in the village. Local Muslims and Orthodox Christians have disagreed for two years […]

Another transgender woman attacked in Tbilisi

By | November 28th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A transgender woman was attacked in Tbilisi on November 25. The attack happened late at night on Tamar Mepe Avenue. The target of the attack, Nata, had her nose broken and suffered other facial injuries. She left the hospital on Saturday. […]

Transgender Zizi dies in hospital after brutal attack

By | November 24th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

The scene of the crime. (1tv.ge) TBILISI, DFWatch–A transgender woman who was attacked and severely injured on October 14 died at the hospital Tuesday night. The lawyer for the Women’ Initiative Supportive Group informed journalists that Zizi (32) had passed away. The attacker cut her throat […]

Transgender Day of Remembrance observed in two cities in Georgia

By | November 21st, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The International Transgender Day of Remembrance was observed in two cities in Georgia on Sunday. In Kutaisi and Tbilisi, small gatherings commemorated transgender people who have been murdered as a result of transphobia. […]

Murdered transgender women remembered in Tbilisi

By | November 11th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

(DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Friends and activists gathered Thursday to remember the transgender woman Sabi Beriani, who was brutally murdered in Tbilisi two years ago. November 10 has become a national day of remembrance for transgender victims of violence, […]

Commission suggests making mosque ruins cultural heritage site

By | November 1st, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A commission tasked with settling a dispute between Christians and Muslims over the ruins of a mosque in the south of Georgia delivered its recommendations on Thursday, but it is uncertain if this will help solve the two year old conflict. […]

Muslims conduct prayer on ruins of mosque in Mokhe

By | October 14th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

(Samkhretis Karibche.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Muslims in the village Mokhe in the south of Georgia on Thursday conducted a prayer on the ruins of a mosque which the local government in 2014 declared that it wanted to turn into a culture house. The plans by local Orthodox Christians to appropriate […]

After waiting nine years, Radio Marneuli prepares to finally go on air

By | September 26th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

Marneuli Radio (DFWatch) TBILISI, DFWatch–In Marneuli, a predominantly ethnic Azerbaijani town in the south of Georgia, the community radio is the only media outlet which is critical of the local government and trying to be balanced, unbiased and objective. Parvin Abdulaev has show about traditions (DFWatch) Ainura has talk-show about travelling (DFWatch) The people behind Radio Marneuli went through many difficulties until they finally […]

Muslims in Kobuleti win symbolic victory in discrimination lawsuit

By | September 22nd, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

Neighbors of the madrasa placed a pig’s head on the door. (TV 25.) TBILISI, DFWatch–In Batumi, the City Court on Monday ruled partly in favor of the Muslim community in a conflict about a planned religious boarding school called a madrasa. The court case, which has lasted two years, deals with a conflict among locals in the town Kobuleti, […]

Georgian police accused of hate speech in lawsuit at Strasbourg court

By | September 16th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The beating of four Muslims by Georgian police may be brought up before the European Court of Human Rights after a human rights group in Georgia on Thursday filed a lawsuit at the Strasbourg court. The four were detained by police during a village […]

Georgian Muslims celebrate Kurban Bayram

By | September 12th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , |

(Muslims’ Department of Georgia) Tbilisi, DFWatch – Muslims in Georgia, as well as around the World, celebrate Eid al-Adha, known as Kurban Bayram, major religious celebration from 12 to 15 September. […]

Muslims in Batumi buy land plot for city’s second mosque

By | September 8th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Muslims in Batumi took one step closer to building a second mosque in the city by purchasing a plot of land on Wednesday. The initiative group for constructing a mosque in Batumi on September 7 purchased a property on Abashidze Street […]

In pictures: Cross-border music festival One Caucasus

By | September 1st, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , |

Tserakvi, DFWatch – Festival brings South Georgia’s multi-ethnic community together with visitors from Armenia and Azerbaijan for music, art, sport, and activism. The festival was held for the third time with more guests and artists performing. […]

Can Caucasus become one? Festival opens where three countries meet

By | August 26th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The One Caucasus Festival kicked off in Georgia on Thursday, bringing together tourists and young people from all over the country, from different ethnic backgrounds, in order to enjoy music performances by local and foreign artists. One Caucasus […]

Jehovah’s Witnesses recorded 51 cases of discrimination in 2015

By | August 18th, 2016|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , |

A lawyer for Jehovah’s Witnesses wondered why police were not using recordings from the surveillance cameras they have installed. (Rustavi 2.) Some of the discrimination occurs when members try to hand out flyers in the streets. (Interpressnews.) Problems getting a construction permit for a new congregation house in Terjola is one of the cases mentioned in the U.S. State Department’s report. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–On November 23 last year, shots were fired at a building used by Jehovah’s Witnesses in Vazisubani, a district in the Georgian capital Tbilisi. When bullets slammed into the building again one week later, a lawyer representing the religious community wondered […]

New cafe offers youth a place to meet in Pankisi

By | August 12th, 2016|Categories: Minorities, Youth|Tags: |

(DFWatch.) (DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A new café in Pankisi Gorge will offer young people a place to gather. Locals say they cannot remember ever having had a place for young people to get together. The café opened Wednesday in the village Duisi, the central village in Pankisi Gorge, […]

Growing tension between Christians and Muslims in Adigeni

By | August 1st, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

Muslims of Mokhe (DFWatch) TBILISI, DFWatch–There is growing tension between the Christian and Muslim communities in the small village Adigeni, west of Akhaltsikhe. The Samtskhe–Javakheti region, where Adigeni village is located, was historically known as Meskheti, after the Muslim Meskhs. […]

Nigerian student accuses Georgian bank of discrimination

By | July 29th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , |

(Netgazeti photo) Tbilisi, DFWatch – Nigerian national, Solomon Adebayo Okeleye accused Bank of Georgia of racial discrimination for limiting his and other Nigerian students’ right to use payment cards. […]

Catholics win discrimination lawsuit in Georgia

By | July 25th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

(DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Catholics in Rustavi, 20km south of the Georgian capital, have won a court’s backing that they were discriminated against after failing to get a construction permit to build a church there. The Catholic community in Rustavi applied for permission […]

In pictures: Pankisi valley celebrates Eid al-Fitr

By | July 8th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , |

Pankisi Valley, DFWatch – Eid al-Fitr, or the Feast of Breaking the Fast, is a major Muslim holiday marking the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. This year, Eid al-Fitr was celebrated by Muslims worldwide on 6 July. In Pankisi valley, Georgia’s utmost […]

Sabi murder case may go to the Supreme Court as prosecutor appeals

By | July 7th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian Prosecutor General’s Office on Wednesday appealed a ruling in the Appeals Court to acquit the defendant in the murder of transgender woman Sabi Beriani. If approved, the case could go to the Supreme Court. […]

Georgians support gay rights, but want gay rights rallies banned

By | June 6th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

Invisible Protest for May 17, 2014, Tbilisi, Georgia (DFWatch) TBILISI, DFWatch–Over half of Georgians think the state should protect the rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and other sexual minorities, but four out of five want it to be illegal to demonstrate for LGBTI rights, according to a new survey by Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group (WISG). […]

Two more cases of homophobic violence in Tbilisi

By | May 24th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , |

LGBTQI activists protesting detentions of May 17 at Tbilisi City Court (DFWatch) TBilisi, DFWatch – Two cases of likely homophobic violence were reported in Tbilisi on Saturday. Koba Bitsadze, the executive director of LGBT organisation Temida, […]

Civil society and countering violent extremism in Georgia

By | May 20th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , , , |

Mosque in Duisi, Pankisi Gorge Georgia’s State Agency for Religious Issues is accusing NGOs of fomenting radicalisation and terrorism in the country. Others, however, consider civil society vital in any attempt to prevent it. […]

Kist Salafi community joins debate on religion and radicalisation in Pankisi valley

By | May 18th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|

A young Kist man named Musa, who was present in the audience, pointed out that the war in Syria lost its appeal after it became apparent that it was connected to interests of major political powers.  Tbilisi, DFWatch – A Salafi imam from Pankisi valley met with Georgian public in order to explain the community’s views on religion, the role of the state, the role of media, sources of radicalism, and gender equality. […]

Stairs painted in rainbow colors in western Georgia, then cleaned by municipality

By | May 18th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , |

Street cleaners cleaning stairs from paint (Photo: Gurianews) Tbilisi, DFWatch – Stairs of a theatre in Ozurgeti, administrative center of Guria, Western Georgia, was painted in rainbow colors on May 17, International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), Guria news reported. […]

17 May marked with rallies, guerrilla tactics, arrests, and prayers [updated]

By | May 17th, 2016|Categories: Minorities, Society|Tags: , , |

A small group of feminist and LGBT activists rallied in front of the Tbilisi City Court’s building demanding an immediate release of the detainees. (DFWacth) The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) marked internationally on 17 May once again sheds light on existing tensions between the LGBTQI community, the authorities, and the Church. [...]

Ombudsman call on public agencies ‘to do their best’ to prevent hate-motivated violence

By | May 17th, 2016|Categories: Minorities, Society|Tags: , , , |

Ucha Nanuashvili (Ombudsman.ge) The Public Defender of Georgia released a statement on International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), May 17, in which he deplores that “no effective measures have been taken for raising public awareness or establishing the culture of tolerance in the country.” “A timely, efficient and accountable investigation of hate crimes [...]

Georgia has become a more dangerous place for gays: Rights group

By | May 12th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The human rights of gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities are being less protected in Georgia, according to the organization ILGA, which monitors the situation internationally. International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex […]

Agency for Religious Issues: Civil society fosters Islamic terrorism

By | May 10th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|

A mosque in Adjara (DFWatch) Tbilisi, DFWatch – NGO and Muslim activists slam the State Agency for Religious Issues for accusing the civil society of fostering Islamic terrorism and radicalism by pointing out structural violence on behalf of the state and the Georgian Orthodox Church. […]

Ethnic and religious minorities affected by population decline: Census

By | May 4th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , , |

43% of the population of Kvemo Kartli is Muslim, 40% in Achara , and 12% in Kakheti (DFWatch) TBILISI, DFWatch–The 2014 census sheds light on issues related to ethnic, linguistic, and religious minorities in Georgia. The size of all ethnic minorities fell drastically. While Georgia has lost 15% (658 thousand) of its population since the 2002 census, the number […]

Three cases of homophobic violence reported last month

By | May 3rd, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

Jemal Beridze (Facebook) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian media reported about three cases of homophobic violence which took place last month in Tbilisi. The Facebook user, Jemal Beridze wrote on 23 April that he was assaulted by three unknown attackers for wearing an earring. […]

In pictures: Kist Cultural Evening in Tbilisi

By | April 26th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

Tbilisi, DFWatch – Cultural activists from Pankisi valley stress the importance of strong Chechen–Georgian relations and the need of challenging the existing negative stereotypes. […]

Tbilisi City Hall refuses to guarantee security for members of Armenian Genocide rally

By | April 25th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

Rally on the 101st anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in front of the Saint Ejmiatsin church in Tbilisi (DFWatch) Members of Tbilisi’s Armenian community gathered in front of an Armenian church in Avlabari district following the authorities’ refusal to secure the annual rally in front of the Turkish Embassy demanding recognition of the Armenian Genocide. […]

In pictures: Tbilisi Armenians celebrate Palm Sunday

By | April 24th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Although the Armenian Apostolic Church follows a different liturgical calendar, many Georgian Armenians mark religious holidays on the same days as the Georgian Orthodox. Armenians in Armenia already celebrated Palm Sunday (Tsaghkazard in […]

In pictures: Georgian Jews prepare for Passover

By | April 23rd, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Tbilisi, DFWatch – Passover, also known by its Hebrew name, Pesach, is a major religious holiday celebrated by Jews across the world. It commemorates the liberation of Jews by God from the slavery in Egypt and the […]

Family feud linked to Pankisi arson case

By | April 19th, 2016|Categories: Minorities, News|

The family house in Pankisi valley was burnt to ground in a suspected arson case linked to a family feud (ICK.ge) The victim’s family demands an urgent and comprehensive investigation into a suspected arson case, which will otherwise be solved through the application of traditional law. A family house in Pankisi valley was burnt […]

Batumi Muslims continue demanding the right to build a new mosque

By | April 17th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|

Prayers in Batumi pray in the street outside of Orta Jame (DFWatch) Tbilisi, DFWatch – On 15 April, after the weekly Friday prayer, Acharan Muslims organised a peaceful rally demanding construction permit for a new mosque in Batumi, Batumelebi (‘Batumians’) reported. The protesters marched to the government buildi […]

MP’s call for formal recognition of Armenian Genocide reignites debate

By | April 14th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

MP Azer Suleimanov, still from the video TBILISI, DFWatch–A call to formally recognise the Armenian Genocide further strains interethnic relations in the context of recent hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, upcoming annual genocide commemorations, and impending parliamentary elections. […]

Suspect arrested for fatal stabbing in Tbilisi suburb

By | April 8th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , |

Zarangul Akhmedova, mother of the murder victim. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Police in Georgia arrested a person Thursday accused of murdering 22 year old Pikrat Akhmedov on December 28 in Ponichala, a predominantly Azeri suburb of Tbilisi. The Ministry of Internal Affairs informed said police from Isani-Samgori […]

One Armenian and one Azerbaijani MP concerned by Karabakh escalation

By | April 6th, 2016|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , |

Ruslan Pogosyan and Ali Mamedov. (parliament.ge.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Two parliamentarians from the governing Georgian Dream coalition – one of Armenian, the other of Azerbaijani origin – express concern over the military situation in Nagorno-Karabakh after the recent escalation in hostilities. “We call […]

Fighters recruited among Georgia’s minorities for Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

By | April 6th, 2016|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

Arnold Stepanyan. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The escalation of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh has complicated relations between the Armenian and Azerbaijani communities in Georgia. A small group of Georgian citizens plan to go to fight in case the conflict continues. […]

CEC approves referendum bid about same-sex marriage

By | March 29th, 2016|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: |

TBILISI, DFWatch–The Central Election Commission (CEC) has approved a proposal to hold a referendum about whether to allow same sex marriage in Georgia. The proposal, which was submitted by a group of seven people, will not automatically […]

Georgian PM takes part in Armenian Easter celebrations

By | March 28th, 2016|Categories: In brief, Minorities|

(Prime Minister’s press office.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili visited the newly renovated Cathedral of Saint George in Tbilisi’s Old Town, in order to join Armenian Easter celebrations. Adherents of the Armenian Apostolic Church are almost exclusively ethnic […]

In pictures: Georgian Catholics mark Easter

By | March 27th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

(DFWatch) Tbilisi, DFWatch - This year, a number of Christian minorities in Georgia, including the Catholics, Armenians, and Protestants observe Easter, the most important Christian holiday, more than one month before Orthodox Christians. Before Easter, Catholics observe a forty-day long fasting period known as the Great Lent. The last week immediately before Easter is [...]

Public hearing process begins for constitutional ban on same-sex marriage

By | March 26th, 2016|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

Vice Speaker Manana Kobakhidze, one of the parliamentarians behind the bill. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A parliamentary commission has launched a public debate about a proposed constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The first meeting was held on Friday in Telavi, in the eastern Kakheti […]

Pankisi imams won’t endorse early marriages

By | March 25th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

Mosque in Duisi, Pankisi Gorge The issue of early marriages highlights existing religious divisions in Pankisi valley and competing views on the community’s relation with the Georgian state. In a conversation with local Radio WAY (‘We’ in Chechen), member of Pankisi’s Council of Elders Khaso Khangoshvili declared that early marriages won’t be endorsed by [...]

In pictures: Nowruz celebrations in Marneuli

By | March 21st, 2016|Categories: Minorities|

Novwruz in Marneuli (DFWatch) MARNEULI, DFWatch–Hundreds of people celebrated the coming of spring in the city of Marneuli, populated predominantly by ethnic Azerbaijanis. Nowruz (Novruz bayramı in Azerbaijani) is a major holiday of Persian and Zoroastrian origins, celebrated nowadays […]

LGBT rights activists protest against politicization of the definition of marriage

By | March 18th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

Protest at parliament in Kutaisi (Identoba) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian Dream MP slurs Identoba’s activists who stage a protest against proposed constitutional changes in the definition of marriage. A group of activists from NGO Identoba (‘Identity’) gathered today in front of the Parliament […]

In pictures: Yazidi cemetery in Tbilisi

By | March 16th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|

The only Yazidi cemetery in Tbilisi is located on a hill overlooking the city in Upper Chughureti district. Until less than a year ago, the area around the cemetery used to be a site of illegal garbage disposal. It was finally rehabilitated in June 2015. […]

Armenian-language radio gains ground in Georgia

By | March 15th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Arsen Kharatyan Director of Armenian-language radio Aliq Media, Arsen Kharatyan discusses challenges facing minority-language media in Georgia and the anti-Armenian sentiment in the country. DF Watch: Can you tell us about the history of the radio? […]

Life of Muslim Meskh repatriates at South Ossetian boundary line

By | March 11th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|

Salim Iskanderov (DFWatch) Tsitelubani, DFWatch – The Iskanderov family members tell the story of life on the move, Meskh activism in Georgia, and challenges of life at the ABL. When DF Watch first knocked on Salim Iskanderov’s door, he was suspicious. […]

Man attacks Jehovah’s Witnesses in Kutaisi

By | March 11th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A man attacked a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses in Kutaisi, western Georgia, on Thursday. The inebriated attacker beat him and tore book and, leaflets and smashed the JW stand. The incident took place on Thursday morning near […]

Free Democrats support constitutional ban on gay marriage

By | March 10th, 2016|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

Viktor Dolidze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Free Democrats, an opposition party which until 2014 was a member of the ruling Georgian Dream coalition, supports a Constitutional amendment that will define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Four members […]

Lecture on homophobia disrupted at Free University in Tbilisi

By | March 8th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

(Identoba.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A public lecture about homophobia was called off at the Free University in Tbilisi as result of a protest by a radical religious group that claimed the lecture was propaganda. Identoba, an organization working to defend the rights of sexual and […]

GD coalition agrees on constitutional block against gay marriage

By | March 8th, 2016|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: |

Prime MInister Giorgi Kvirikashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Leaders of the ruling Georgian Dream (GD) coalition on Monday agreed to support a constitutional amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The constitutional amendment was discussed at a session […]

Batumi Muslims rally demanding permit to construct a mosque

By | March 5th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|

Batumi Mosque (DFWatch) TBILISI, DFWatch–Batumi Muslims continue to rally for permission to build a new mosque in the city. The only existing mosque, called Ortajame, is not large enough and people have to pray on the street. Several hundred Muslims gathered outside […]

CoE criticises Georgia’s record on religious minorities and LGBT rights

By | March 3rd, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , |

May 17, 2015 (DFWatch) TBILISI, DFWatch–A new report published by the Council of Europe (CoE) highlights persisting issues of hate speech, racism, xenophobia, direct violence, and systemic discrimination in Georgia. On Tuesday, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance […]

Christians and Muslims in Adigeni agree to share cemetery

By | March 2nd, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

(Samkhretis Karibche.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Muslims and Christians have reached agreement about a cemetery in a village Adigeni, in the south of Georgia, after a tense standoff. The communities agreed to have one common cemetery, which will be separated by a line. Jambul Abuladze, […]

MIA opens investigation into Christian-Muslim cemetery conflict

By | March 1st, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

(Samkhretis Karibche.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) has launched an investigation into the religious conflict in Adigeni in southern Georgia, where Muslims and Christians disagree about whether to have a separate graveyard for Muslims. The investigation […]

Christians and Muslims in Adigeni exchange insults in cemetery row

By | February 29th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

(Samkhretis Karibche.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Disagreement over a cemetery led to exchange of insults between Muslims and Christians in a village in southern Georgia on Monday. Samkhretis Karibche, a local online newspaper, reported that the locals verbally insulted each other. […]

Tbilisi’s Azerbaijani activists call for recognition of the ‘Khojaly Genocide’

By | February 29th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|

(DF Watch) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgian Azerbaijani activists marked the anniversary of the Khojaly tragedy and called for its recognition as a genocide. On 25 February, a conference on the Khojaly (Xocalı) genocide was held in Tbilisi. The event was organised […]

Georgia’s Vainakh community commemorates victims of Stalin’s deportations

By | February 23rd, 2016|Categories: Minorities|

Nona and Meka Khangoshvili (DFWatch) Tbilisi, DFWatch – Kist, Chechen, Ingush activists and Georgian sympathisers commemorated victims of 1944 deportations with screening of a Chechen film depicting details of the tragedy. […]

Protesters succeed in preventing LGBT conference at TSU

By | February 22nd, 2016|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A conference about sexual minorities had to be moved to another location after Tbilisi State University (TSU) refused to let it be held on February 22 following protests by extreme traditionalists. The protest was staged by a group which has often […]

Neighbours Struggle to Deal with Religious Tension in Tbilisi’s Muslim Settlement

By | February 22nd, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , , |

Friday prayer in Shia mosque (DFWatch) Soghanlughi, DFWatch – Global Shia–Sunni conflict found its way into a small Azerbaijani community on the outskirts of Tbilisi.What started as a local tension in the predominantly Muslim settlement of Soghanlughi (Soğanlıq in Azerbaijani), which is a part of Ponichala district in the southeast of Tbilisi, escalated into a conflict informed by events in the Middle East, proving increasingly divisive for the community. […]

Transgender-themed film screening commemorates activist’s death

By | February 19th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

Bianka filmed in the Gospel of Anasyrma Tbilisi, DFWatch – Film starring late transgender activist Bianka Shigurova is a powerful social commentary on transphobia in Georgia. Short film The Gospel of Anasyrma was screened yesterday in headquarters of […]

Georgia ranked 23rdin Europe for LGBT rights legislation

By | February 12th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|

Rainbow Europe TBILISI, DFWatch–Rainbow Europe’s LGBTI rights ranking praises positive developments in Georgia despite major setbacks. Georgia was placed in the middle of a ranking of European countries which assessed each country’s legislation regarding […]

Two mosques given heritage protection in southern Georgia

By | February 12th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Sakuneti Mosque (DFWatch) ADIGENI, DFWatch–Two mosques in the south of Georgia were Monday granted cultural heritage status. We went to the Samtskhe-Javakheti region to see how religious minorities are living there. One of the mosques designated as cultural heritage lies in the middle of the village Adigeni. […]

Different versions of murder tell of divide in mixed Shia Sunni village

By | February 10th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A picture of a young man hangs in the yard of the Shia mosque in Ponichala, a suburb of Tbilisi known as Soghanlughi, or Soğanlıq in Azeri language. A note is attached to it, saying: ‘Your blood will annihilate Wahhabism and wash it off this land’. […]

LGBT organisations distance themselves from same-sex marriage initiative

By | February 10th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|

Tbilisi, DFWatch – LGBT rights organisations condemn Giorgi Tatishvili’s initiative for same-sex marriages as a provocation and accuse pro-Russian political and radical religious forces of interference. On 27 January, Giorgi Tatishvili, an activist […]

Kist man claims ethnically motivated assault by Akhmeta police

By | February 6th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|

Aslan Tsutsashvili (ick.ge) Tbilisi, DFWatch – 24-years-old Aslan Tsutsashvili from Pankisi valley accuses Akhmeta police of physical assault on ethnic grounds. The incident allegedly […]

Muslims in Batumi present 12,000 signatures in support of new mosque

By | February 5th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

(DF Watch.) BATUMI, DFWatch–Muslims gathered at the Orta Jame mosque in Batumi on Thursday and presented over 12,000 signatures in support of constructing a new mosque. Orta Jame is the only mosque in Batumi, Georgia’s second largest city, and it has been overcrowded […]

Transgender woman found dead in Tbilisi

By | February 5th, 2016|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: |

Bianka Shigurova can be seen in the center of this photo (wearing a hat) from November, 2015. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A transgender woman was found dead in her apartment in Tbilisi on Thursday. She had apparently suffocated due to a gas leak. The Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) confirmed the death of Bianka Shigurova and said an investigation has been […]

Georgia may amend Constitution to bar same-sex marriage

By | February 2nd, 2016|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

Zviad Tomaradze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A controversy is brewing in Georgia over whether it should be written into the Constitution that a marriage is union between a man and a woman. The idea has been around at least since former Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili suggested it in March […]

Council of Europe report highlights marginalization of minorities

By | January 28th, 2016|Categories: Minorities|

TBILISI, DFWatch–A new report by the Council of Europe (CoE) criticizes Georgia for not having done enough to protect minorities and prevent inter-faith tension. The report deals with the protection of minority rights in Georgia and assesses the legislative steps taken […]

Petition for new mosque in Batumi collects 5,000 signatures in one day

By | December 27th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

(DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Supporters of a second mosque in Batumi began collecting signatures Friday. The city on Georgia’s Black Sea coast is largely Muslim but the only mosque has been overcrowded for decades. Signatures were collected at a corner of the Orta Jame […]

Shots fired at Jehovah’s Witnesses house in Tbilisi – again

By | December 3rd, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–For a second time in one week, gunshots have been fired at a congregation hall used by Jehovah’s Witnesses in Tbilisi. Monday morning, someone fired shots at the Kingdom Hall building in Vazisubani, a suburb in the Georgian capital. […]

Jehovah’s Witnesses house in Tbilisi fired at

By | November 26th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation house being built in Terjola, one of several places the religious community have met resistance from locals. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A house used by Jehovah’s Witnesses was fired at in Tbilisi on Monday night. Witnesses say they heard sounds of shots at about 23:00. At least 15 bullets were fired at the building. No-one was injured. Representatives of the Kingdom Hall […]

Day of remembrance for transgender people observed in Tbilisi

By | November 11th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

A day of rememberance was held one year after the brutal murder of Sabi Beriani in Tbilisi. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Two dozen activists gathered in Tbilisi Tuesday evening to observe a new national day of remembrance for transgender people, exactly one year after the murder of a transgender woman. The memorial event was held […]

International ‘pro-family’ congress to coincide with Day Against Homophobia

By | November 4th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

A gathering was held on May 17, 2015 in secrecy to avoid possible harasment for radical groups (DFWatch) A major ‘family values’ conference will be held in Tbilisi on the 17 May amidst fears that it might be yet another attempt at silencing LGBT rights activism Georgia was chosen as the site for the tenth World Congress of Families, Christian News Wire reported. […]

All defendants acquitted in 2013 anti-gay rights attack case

By | October 23rd, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi City Court on Friday acquitted four people for organizing a violent anti-gay rights rally in 2013. The four, who also included clergy in the Georgian Orthodox Church, were on trial for urging protesters who disrupted a peaceful rally to mark the […]

New Armenian church opens in Javakheti

By | October 16th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

Opening of the construction (armenianchurch.ge) Javakheti’s Armenian community celebrated the opening of a new church in the village of Didi Aragiali. A ceremony of opening a new church in the village of Didi Aragiali of Ninotsminda municipality inhabited by ethnic Armenian majority was held on 13 October, news portal jnews.ge reports. […]

Georgia’s religious minorities file lawsuit with Constitutional Court

By | October 15th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

Christmas Mass in the Catholic Church in Tbilisi. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Eight religious organizations in Georgia have filed a lawsuit with the Constitutional Court, demanding to get rid of legislation that provide beneficial tax terms for the Orthodox Church. Georgia’s Tax Code, as well as an agreement between […]

DF Talk: Being transgender in Georgia

By | October 1st, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

Natia Gvianishvili, director of NGO Women’s Initiatives Supporting Group and Nika Ghviniashvili, manager of NGO LGBT Georgia Resource Centre talk about transgenderness and the issues faced by transgender people in Georgia. What is transgenderness? Natia Gvianishvili: […]

Two Nigerians beaten in Tbilisi, two suspects detained

By | September 29th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Police in Georgia Sunday detained two Georgian for beating two Nigerians in Tbilisi. The attacked happened on September 19 when one Georgian citizen and his two Nigerian friends were walking on Rustaveli Avenue in the capital. […]

Georgian MP wants ‘sexual orientation’ deleted from anti-discrimination law

By | September 22nd, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Soso Jachvliani. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A conservative MP from the ruling Georgian Dream coalition wants to make changes to the anti-discrimination law passed by parliament last year which he himself voted for at every hearing. Soso Jachvliani, an armwrestler, actor and film director, […]

Radio Liberty criticized for publishing homophobic letter

By | September 19th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Groups rallied outside the office of Radio Liberty in Tbilisi Friday evening against a homophobic and xenophobic letter written by a sexologist and published on the radio station’s website. The controversial letter was written by Archil Bakradze, […]

NGO slams Khulo officials’ Armenophobic document

By | September 9th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

Local fraction of Georgian Dream alleges Mr Saakashvili’s “Armenian origin” in a fresh display of anti-Armenian sentiment. NGO platform No to Phobia issued a statement condemning the use of Armenophobic […]

Participatory budgeting gathers momentum in Marneuli

By | September 1st, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

Marneuli (Dominik K. Cagara) Tserakvi, DFWatch – A pilot project on participatory budgeting brings the population of Marneuli district closer to the decision-making process and brings democratic participation to a new level. One Caucasus Festival ended on Saturday, but the organizers took steps to secure its pro-democratic overtone in the long run. […]

One Caucasus Festival kicks off near Marneuli

By | August 28th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

One Caucasus in Tserakvi (Dominik K. Cagara) Tserakvi, DFWatch - Festival brings south Georgia’s multi-ethnic community together with visitors from Armenia and Azerbaijan for music, art, sport, and activism. One Caucasus Festival kicked off yesterday in Tserakvi in Marneuli district, turning the tiny village into a lively melting pot of local and international guests. [...]

Youth of multiple ethnic backgrounds join forces for One Caucasus Festival

By | August 27th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

One Caucasus Festival Tbilisi, DFWatch – Ethnic Armenian, Azerbaijani, and Georgian activists from Marneuli district take part in preparations for the One Caucasus Festival to be held on 27–29 August in the village of Tserakvi. […]

Combating transphobia through grassroots activism

By | August 17th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

Poster from ‘Anonymous’ exhibition organised by Eteri Chkadua in collaboration with Identoba and Europe House as displayed in Identoba’s office. (DF Watch) TBILISI, DFWatch–While transphobia remains a societal and legal issue in Georgia, NGO activists try to raise awareness of the problem and exercise pressure on the authorities. As some in Georgia are still […]

Petition calls for tougher punishment in transgender murder case

By | August 15th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

(DFWatch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Groups in Georgia on Friday launched a petition demanding to punish the person who was recently acquitted of murdering a transgender woman in Tbilisi on the grounds that he was acting in self-defense. The organization Women’s […]

Court rules murderer of transgender woman acted in self-defense

By | August 8th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Sabi was remembered with a minute’s silence at the House of Justice on Nov. 21, 2014. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Tbilisi City Court on Friday unexpectedly acquitted a man of premeditated murder and sentenced him instead to four years in prison for beating another victim the same evening. Levan Kochlashvili was on trial for having physically […]

Georgia’s Yazidis honour the victims of the Sinjar Massacre

By | August 4th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

Yezidis of Georgia fathered in a temple in Tbilisi (Facebook)   Georgia’s Yazidi community marked the first anniversary of the Sinjar massacre and prayed for peace in the Yazidi temple in Tbilisi. Georgia’s Yazidi community gathered on 3 August in the Yazidi temple in the Varketili […]

Akhalkalaki media: Tbilisi should not fear Armenian separatism

By | July 24th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

Meeting with journalists in Javakheti (jnews.ge) Tbilisi, DFWatch – Georgia should not fear separatism in Samtskhe-Javakheti, writes jnews, an Akhalkalaki-based news website. In a meeting, organized by the Go Group Media back in June, journalists […]

LGBT rights activist assaulted allegedly for his appearance

By | July 18th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

Levan Berianidze (Facebook) Tbilisi, DFWatch – Interior Ministry launched criminal investigation into physical attack on employee of the NGO working in the field of protecting rights of sexual minorities in Georgia. Levan Berianidze, of NGO Identoba, […]

ECHR ruling is vital for all minority movements in Georgia

By | July 14th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

Tbilisi, DFWatch – The European Court of Human Rights ruling in the case Identoba and others vs Georgia can be considered a landmark decision, as it stated that hate crimes, committed against individuals based on their sexual orientation is a violation of the European Convention on Human rights. […]

LGBT* community in Georgia has bigger concerns than same sex marriages

By | July 5th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

Invisible Protest for May 17, 2014, Tbilisi, Georgia (DFWatch) TBILISI, DFWatch–Same sex marriage legislation in the U.S. is a landmark decision, but LGBT* people in Georgia have bigger problems than not being allowed to get married. On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court legalised same-sex marriages country wide […]

Georgian parliamentarian criticizes U.S. Supreme Court same-sex ruling

By | June 28th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Manana Kobakhidze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The deputy speaker of the Georgian parliament, Manana Kobakhidze, is criticized for recent remarks about the U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage. “Even if we are left all alone on earth, if every one of our friends or partners abandons us, I will not […]

U.S. State Dep criticizes Georgia for failure to protect gays

By | June 27th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

May 17, 2015 (DFWatch) TBILISI, DFWatch -The U.S. State Department criticizes Georgia in a new report about human rights published on Friday. Among a whole a number of problems highlighted in the report, it pays particular attention to the violation of the rights of gays and other sexual minorities. […]

The Sayat Nova Project: Music Defying Borders in the Caucasus

By | June 23rd, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

Bela Mutoshvili and Benjamin Wheeler. Joqolo, Pankisi​ (Dominik K. Cagara) A group of ethnomusicologists known as the Sayat Nova Project has been documenting the musical heritage of the South Caucasus, trying to de-emphasise national divisions, explore the shared heritage, and pay attention to the underrepresented forms of musical expression. […]

Yazidi temple, third in the world, opened in Tbilisi

By | June 19th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

Guests in the opening of the temple (Teimuraz Shamoian ) Tbilisi, DFWatch – on Tuesday, Yazidis celebrated the opening of their first temple and a cultural center in Tbilisi. More than 2000 guests attended the opening ceremony of the temple in uptown Varketili district,  built on the donation by the state. […]

Batsbi: A Silent Death of a Minority Language

By | June 18th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

A village in Tusheti (Facebook) The Batsbi language, a minority language related to Chechen, has been driven to the brink of extinction. Traditionally spoken in Zemo Alvani, Akhmeta Region, Kakheti, it has already lost its role as a community language and without institutional support it continues to decline at a rapid pace. […]

Pankisi residents want moderate Islam lessons to counter radicalism

By | June 17th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

Imam Omar. (DF Watch.) PANKISI, DFWatch–Pankisi residents suggest to counter radical Islam by providing moderate Islam lessons for the young generation. Recently, four people were detained for recruiting new ISIS members in Pankisi Gorge. Journalists on a media tour here organized […]

Javakheti people excited over year-long visa-free stay comeback

By | June 12th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

Local residents queuing at the Public Service Hall in Akhalkalaki for the residency permits in January (Jnews.ge) Samtskhe-Javakheti Armenians applaud the comeback of the year-long visa-free stay permit in Georgia, as those who hold Armenian or Russian passport no longer need a residency permit to stay in the country.  As DFWatch has reported […]

Zezvaoba – a traditional horse race between Kists and Georgians

By | June 2nd, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , , |

(DF Watch.) ALVANI, DFWatch–The last Sunday of May is a day of celebration in the Tush villages Kvemo Alvani and Zemo Alvani in Kakheti. Zezvaoba is the festival to honour the warrior Zezva Gaprindauli, who lead the Tush alongside the Georgian army against Persians at the Bakhtrioni […]

NGOs criticize Georgia for not protecting minorities

By | May 29th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

The overcrowded mosque in Batumi. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Georgia criticize the government for not doing enough to eliminate discrimination of religious minorities, and underline that over the last two years, the country has seen a number of conflicts on a religious […]

PDO calls for gender change in documents of trans-individuals

By | May 29th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

Practice in Europe Tbilisi, DFWatch – The Public Defender’s Office (PDO) addressed the Ministry of Justice on May 18 proposing to allow trans-people to change their gender records in official documents. According to the PDO, there are provisions in the Georgian law that hint […]

Anti-homophobia day marked in secrecy in Tbilisi

By | May 17th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

(DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–When groups in Tbilisi wanted to mark the international day against homophobia May 17, they had to organize it in tightly-controlled secrecy and gather in silence. Time and location was secret, and everyone who showed up, including journalists […]

“This street is taken” – Tbilisi gay rights campaigners prepare for May 17

By | May 12th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

(Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–“This street is taken – there’s no place for homophobia and transphobia here!” This is the slogan of another online campaign to prepare for the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), May 17. Behind the campaign stands […]

Gay rights activists in Georgia are confined to the Internet

By | May 8th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–Two years after a violent mob attacked them, gay rights activists in Georgia are confining their protest to the Internet as they observe the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT). No-one has been prosecuted for the […]

Asureti – a German village in Georgia

By | May 2nd, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

ASURETI, DFWatch–In the 1940s, there were over 20,000 Germans living in Georgia. Today almost none are left. Stalin deported them in 1941-42, and barely anyone came back. Now, Germans are rediscovering this part of their past. Luiza and Manfred. (DF Watch.) Manfred Tikhonov (67) moved to Asureti […]

Locals in Terjola threaten to start protests against Jehovah’s Witnesses

By | April 27th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

Jehova’s Witnesses are building a new Kingdom Hall in Terjola. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Jehovah’s Witnesses in Georgia claim that they are being discriminated against on religious grounds in Terjola, western Georgia. The conflict started about a year ago. Locals Orthodox Christians are against the construction of a new Kingdom Hall […]

Armenians rallied at Turkish embassy in Tbilisi

By | April 24th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|

Ethnic Armenians demand from Turkey and the government of Georgia to recognize Armenian genocide (DFWatch) Tbilisi, DFWatch – Ethnic Armenians in Georgia on Friday gathered at the embassy of Turkey in Tbilisi demanding to recognize almost all-out extermination of the Armenian population in the Ottoman Empire in early 20th century as a Genocide. […]

A gay man from Tbilisi: ‘I haven’t told my mother yet’

By | April 15th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

Illustration photo. (Interpressnews.) A country in which the Church is a powerful presence, which strongly advocates for traditional values, probably would not be the first place of choice for LGBTQ people. But what if it is your homeland? […]

The Armenians in Tsalka

By | April 14th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

(DF Watch.) TSALKA, DFWatch–Tsalka is a cluster of villages in the south of Georgia. It is home to ethnic Armenians, Greeks, Azerbaijani and Georgians; most of whom are eco-migrants from the Adjara region. Levon Akopian, an employee of the local government […]

Homophobia in Georgia: tolerance is a myth

By | April 3rd, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , |

From left to right: Levan Berianidze, Tamta Mikeladze, Ana Lobzhanidze. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgians like to talk about tolerance as a part of the national psyche. But the ability to accept and live alongside people who are different from yourself seems to end when it comes to gays, lesbians and other sexual minorities. According to NDI, […]

Tsalka – a Greek ghost town in Georgia

By | April 2nd, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

TSALKA, DFWatch–Tsalka in southern Georgia used to be home to more than twenty thousand Greeks, but today there are only 1,500 left. ”My parents, grandparents and great grandparents, they all were born in Georgia. This is our home. Sadly, […]

Georgia has done nothing to protect sexual minorities: Ombudsman

By | April 1st, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Anti-gay demonstrators in Tbilisi on May 17, 2014. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia has taken no real steps toward protecting the rights of sexual minorities, according to a new report by the Ombudsman. The report, which was published on April 1, says there is an increase not only in homophobic attitudes but also crimes motivated […]

Batumi synagogue back to Jewish community after 86 years

By | March 27th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

(Pirveli.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s State Agency on Religious Issues on Thursday decided to transfer ownership of the Batumi synagogue to the Jewish community. The Jewish community has been requesting ownership and usage rights to the oldest synagogue in the city, […]

Preventing child brides in Kvemo Kartli

By | March 25th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , |

Samira Bayramova. (DF Watch.) Marneuli, DFWatch–“The man thinks that she is still a child, she doesn’t know anything, and that is a good thing for her,” says Samira Bayramova, a women’s rights activist in Marneuli working to prevent young girls from becoming child brides. “Mothers-in-law […]

Adjara government finds solution to overcrowded mosque

By | March 25th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Orta Jame (DFWatch) BATUMI, DFWatch–The local government in Batumi, Georgia, is buying two buildings for local Muslims, to try to solve the decades-long problem with an overcrowded mosque. There is only one mosque in Batumi, and it is unable to accommodate all the […]

How community leaders view a child marriage in Pankisi, Georgia

By | March 17th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

(DF Watch.) PANKISI, DFWatch–About a month ago, a 13 year old girl was married to a 23 year old man in Pankisi Gorge with approval from the girl’s parents. This has caused concern in the Council of Women and the Council of Elders, two mediation bodies which play an important […]

Sexuality conference goes ahead without incident

By | March 11th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

(DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A conference about sexuality went ahead without interruption in Tbilisi on Wednesday, despite an announced protest by conservatives. The conference was organized by Identoba, a group which works against discrimination on the basis of sexual […]

Meskhetians are denied residency permit in Georgia

By | March 11th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

The House of Justice in Tbilisi. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Meskhetians who are being repatriated to Georgia are facing obstacles when trying to obtain a residency permit. Now human rights groups are defending their cases in the courts. Iunis Arifov has been living in Akhaltsikhe for the last eight years. […]

No signs that Mokhe commission has done anything yet

By | March 9th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

Disputed building in Mokhe (DFWatch) TBILISI, DFWatch–The conflict between Christians and Muslims continues in a village in southern Georgia. A commission created in December to solve the dispute appears to have done nothing so far. Muslims in Mokhe demonstrated in February against the appointment […]

Activists rally in Tbilisi to demand women’s quotas in politics

By | March 9th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

“More women in parliament!” (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Women comprise 53 percent of the Georgian population but are heavily underrepresented in politics, say activists from Georgian Women’s Movement (GWM), a non-governmental organization working to promote women’s rights. On March 8, […]

Women’s representation in Georgia unchanged for over a decade

By | March 8th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Eka Beselia, head of the human rights committee in parliament. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The percentage of women in local government has remained unchanged for the last fourteen years, according to campaigners. There are currently 11 percent women in city and municipal assemblies. In the previous period, there were 10 percent […]

Georgia doubles funding for religious minorities

By | February 24th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

Christmas mass at a Catholic church in Tbilisi. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The government in Georgia plans to spend 3.5 million laris on traditional religious groups and dedicate a new square to the idea of tolerance. As reported by DF Watch, there have been growing friction in Georgian society in recent […]

Islam expert doesn’t see any rise in islamophobia in Georgia

By | February 23rd, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

Ruslan Baramidze (on the left) during a field work It is harder to be a Muslim anywhere, when international media headlines are dominated by terrorist groups, such as ISIS or Boko Haram. In Georgia, one out of ten citizens is a Muslim. What do we know about Islam in Georgia? Is Islamophobia on the rise here as well? […]

Quota system in Georgian universities helps ethnic minorities, but is easy to abuse

By | January 30th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , |

TBILISI, DFWatch- The possibility to study Georgian intensively for one year and then to continue studies in any Georgian university seems like a great opportunity for students coming from ethnic minority background. How helpful is the integration program […]

Muslims in northeast Georgia demonstrate against Charlie Hebdo

By | January 20th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Muslims rally in a village Duisi, Pankisi Gorge (Interpressnews) TBILISI, DFWatch–Muslims in a valley northeast in Georgia demonstrated Monday against the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo for publishing a caricature depicting Prophet Mohammad on January 14. People in the village Duisi, in Pankisi Gorge, believe the cartoon […]

Weak ruble and new immigration law impacting Armenians in Georgia’s south

By | January 8th, 2015|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

Statue in Akhalkalaki of Mesrop Mashtots, the creator of the Armenian alphabet. (Interpressnews.) It is a hard winter for ethnic Armenians living in Georgia’s southern Samtskhe-Javakheti region. The fall of the ruble has led to less money being sent home from relatives who have found jobs in Russia, and Georgia’s new immigration law is forcing people […]

Armenians in Akhalkalaki struggle to learn Georgian

By | December 26th, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

(DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Armenians from Samtskhe-Javakheti have a dilemma: They feel isolated from Georgian society because they don’t speak the state language, but at the same time they don’t have enough motivation to learn it. Shushana Shirinian, a journalist from […]

Government members attend Catholic Midnight Mass in Tbilisi

By | December 25th, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Midnight Mass at The Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church in Tbilisi. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Several government members attended Midnight Mass at the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Church in Tbilisi last night. The ceremony started at 23:30 and Giuseppe Pasotto, Apostolic Administrator of the Caucasus, conducted the prayer. […]

Georgia doubles state funding of four religious communities

By | December 24th, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

Friday prayer at Orta Jame mosque in Batumi. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian government is doubling the funding of four religious denominations operating in the country, apart of the Georgian Patriarchate, the head of the State Agency for Religious Issues said on Wednesday. The four denominations […]

Ombudsman to study progress of Mokhe commission

By | December 16th, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

Fourteen people were detained earlier this year during clashes in Mokhe. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Public Defender is considering checking the progress of a new commission tasked with studying a conflict around a mosque in Mokhe, a village in southern Georgia. Public Defender Ucha Nanuashvili says he thinks people’s trust […]

Controversial bilingual education program to be changed

By | December 14th, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

(Photo by Ministry of Education and Science.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The current bilingual education program does not serve its purpose, according to Armenians in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region of Georgia. A specialist from the Ministry of Education and Science agrees with the critique and says that the current program […]

Georgian talk show host makes fun of Jehovah’s Witnesses

By | November 27th, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Nanuka Zhorzholiani. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A well-known TV host in the republic of Georgia was Wednesday evening criticized for making discriminating statements about Jehovah’s Witnesses while on air. One of the guests on Nanuka’s Show, which is aired on Rustavi 2, a TV channel in the former […]

Pankisi’s Council of Elders and what they do

By | November 25th, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , , , |

Khaso Khangoshvili, Zaur Gumashvili, Apolon Gaurgashvili and Soltsa Kavtarashvili. (DF Watch.) DUISI, DFWatch–Despite its reputation, Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge is now a quite peaceful place, according to the Council of Elders, an informal body which arbitrates conflicts in the area. The council has a long history here. Its role is to mediate and decide […]

Pankisi youth choose radical Islam over grim reality

By | November 21st, 2014|Categories: Minorities, Youth|Tags: , , |

(DF Watch.) DUISI, DFWatch–The people in Pankisi Gorge have been under increasing scrutiny for the last few months, as fighters from this region have become high-ranking commanders in the forces of the Islamic State. Pankisi is merely a 34 square kilometers cut into the Greater […]

Killed transgender woman remembered with a minute’s silence in Tbilisi

By | November 21st, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

A transgender woman recently killed in Tbilisi was remembered with a minute’s silence. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–LGBT activists on Thursday marked Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDoR) in Tbilisi. The demonstration took place at the House of Justice to protest against the fact that transgender people aren’t allowed to register their true gender in ID cards. […]

Students demand decision about Kobuleti madrasa

By | November 12th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, Youth|Tags: |

The house in Kobuleti where a Muslim boarding school is planned. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Students at a Muslim school demonstrated outside the government house in Batumi a few days ago, demanding that the the Kobuleti Boarding School issue be solved soon. Also university students joined the rally. They claim that the local government […]

Pankisi women challenge traditional law

By | November 11th, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Duisi. (DF Watch.) DUISI. DFWatch–Centuries-old mountain traditions and customs still regulate daily life in Pankisi, a valley in the northeast of Georgia populated by Kists and Chechens. Now the old ways are challenged by a new women’s council. Traditionally, the highest decision […]

Ethnic clash in Akhmeta, eastern Georgia

By | November 11th, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , , |

Jokola Achishvili. (Photo posted on Facebook.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A street fight with ethnic overtones in eastern Georgia on Sunday led to people being hospitalized and several people were detained. The scuffle took place in the town Akhmeta, between local Georgians and Kist, who are a subgroup of Chechens […]

Georgian bishop says the Mokhe building was never a mosque

By | October 25th, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

14 people were detained in the clashes in Mokhe. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–An archbishop in Georgia claims the disputed building in Mokhe was formerly a church, and that allowing it to be used by Muslims is unacceptable. The conflict in the village Mokhe near Adigeni started last week when workers came to start dismantling […]

School children stay home in Mokhe as politicians explain conflict

By | October 23rd, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , , |

Shura Mikeladze. (Photo published by Samkhretis Karibche.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Politicians Thursday began making sense of the conflict in Mokhe the day before, while local Muslims spent the whole night at the police station where people are being held who were detained. The scuffle began as Muslims tried to stop the […]

Mosque conflict continues in southern Georgian town

By | October 23rd, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Conflict continued Wednesday in the small Georgian village Mokhe, as an old mosque was dismantled from morning. Muslims tried to protest, but the Orthodox Christians opposed them and there came to a scuffle, during which 14 people were detained. […]

Muslims in south of Georgia plan petition to dismiss mufti

By | October 21st, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

People in Mokhe are unhappy about the mufti’s performance in a conflict about a mosque. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Muslims in south Georgia are planning to start a petition to dismiss the country’s mufti, who they claim is illegitimate and gave them false promises. A few days ago, there was a conflict in the village Mokhe, where an old mosque is going […]

Locals demonstrate for and against turning mosque into culture center

By | October 20th, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Muslims in Mokhe, a village in the south of Georgia, protested on Saturday, because they don’t want to give up an old mosque and turn it into a culture center. The Orthodox population rallied against them demanding to construct a new culture center […]

Update: Two teens captured for vandalizing a church in Tbilisi

By | October 16th, 2014|Categories: In brief, Minorities, Youth|Tags: |

(Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The police on Thursday arrested two youngsters for suspicion of vandalizing a church just during a religious holiday. The detainees are two teens of 17 and 15 years old. The latter has a prior conviction. While searching the homes of the suspects, […]

Human rights court faults Georgia for its treatment of Jehovah’s Witnesses

By | October 12th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

The house where Jehovah’s Witnesses meet in Ozurgeti was attacked January 1, 2014. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The European Court of Human Rights last week found that Georgia has violated the human rights of the Jehovah’s Witnesses community in the country. The violations the court looked at date 14 years back in time, but the group is still being attacked […]

Deadly ‘bridenapping’ in Kakheti

By | October 8th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, Society, Youth|Tags: , , , , |

Few girls finish secondary school in Sagarejo, because they get married at a young age. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–When a young man was murdered last weekend in Kazlar, an Azeri village 40km east of Tbilisi, it could have been one among many stories of violence and homicides in rural Georgia, but the circumstances of this case makes it stand out. 21 year […]

Kobuleti, where Muslims are not welcome

By | October 4th, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: |

Locals in Kobuleti have set up barricades and keep guard 24/7 to prevent Muslims from entering a planned madrasa. (DF Watch.) KOBULETI, DFWatch–In the past couple of years, Muslims in Georgia have experienced more and more animosity directed toward them. In 2012, Muslims were opposed when they tried to open a mosque in Nigvziani; in 2013 villagers in Samtatskharo were not allowed to perform […]

Religious minorities in Georgia shortchanged due to prejudice

By | October 2nd, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , , , , , |

Jehovah’s Witnesses have been subject to a wave of violent attacks in Georgia. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–In the last few years, Georgia has had a surge in discrimination against religious minorities. A new report reveals that also a silent, invisible day-to-day form of discrimination is prevalent within government institutions and among public servants. […]

Georgian man stabs sister for not wearing hijab

By | October 1st, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , , , , |

The mosque in Duisi, Pankisi Gorge. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A man from Pankisi Gorge stabbed his sister in the chest with a knife for refusing to wear a hijab. The brother, 35, inflicted 7 wounds on his 33 year old sister, a former police officer. Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge is located in the northeast […]

Discussion: Reasons for instances of religious intolerance

By | September 15th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

From left to right: Zaur Khalilov, executive director of Civic Integration Fund, theologian Beka Mindiashvili, and lawyer Giorgi Gotsiridze. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A few days ago, in a town on Georgia’s Black Sea coast, local Orthodox Christians hung a pig’s head on the entrance to a Muslim madrasa school which was to be opened in few days, insulting the religious feelings of Muslims. What are the reasons […]

Turkish religious official visiting Georgia

By | September 13th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

TBILISI, DFWatch–A Turkish public official who is visiting Georgia says he hopes there will be built new mosques in Batumi and Akhaltsikhe. Mehmet Görmez,President of the Presidency of Religious Affairs of Turkey, arrived on Friday on his first visit to Georgia […]

Georgian Orthodox Church issues statement on madrasa incident

By | September 12th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: |

(TV-25.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Patriarchate of Georgia claims that a boarding school for Muslim kids was built against the will of a majority of the local population in Kobuleti, a small town on Black Sea coast. For the last few days, locals have tried to oppose the opening of the […]

Investigation into protest against Muslim school

By | September 11th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: |

(TV-25) TBILISI, DFWatch–Georgia’s Interior Ministry has launched an investigation into an incident in a small town about a pig head being placed on the door of a Muslim religious school called a madrasa. The incident happened in Kobuleti as locals were protesting against […]

Locals slaughtered pig outside planned madrasa in Georgia

By | September 10th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: |

Locals in Kobuleti demonstrated against a planned madrasa on Monday. (TV-25.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Locals in the small Georgian town Kobuleti on the Black Sea coast are protesting against the construction of a madrasa, a religious educational facility for Muslims. As a sign of protest people killed a pig and placed its head at the entrance […]

Yazidi refugees in Georgia awaiting decision

By | September 10th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: |

Irakli Lomidze (left), head of Asylum Department at the Refugee Ministry. Dimitry Pirbar, head of the Religious Council of Yazidis in Georgia. (Click to activate video.) (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–More than 50 Yazidis have fled from Iraq to Georgia and applied for political asylum here. DF Watch September 3 organized a discussion about the situation. Dimitry Pirbar, head of the Religious Council of Yazidis in Georgia, said he had been to Iraq […]

50 Yazidis from Iraq ask for asylum in Georgia

By | September 1st, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Agit Mirzoev, head of House of Yazidis in Georgia. TBILISI, DFWatch–Kurdish Yazidis who fled from Iraq are seeking asylum in Georgia. Agit Mirzoev, the head of House of Yazidis in Georgia, told DF Watch that about 50 Yazidis have come to Georgia and asked the government for asylum. He said another group is expected […]

Religious summer camp brings children together across confessions

By | August 28th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: |

The camp in Vartsikhe brought together children of different religious background. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A ten-day summer camp was organized in mid-August for about one hundred Georgian Muslim and Christian children. The camp is aimed at making friends, train and educate, as well as breaking down prejudices about religion. Giorgi Jaiani, 15, came […]

How Georgians view minorities: Protect minority groups but not gays

By | August 26th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

One of the injured in the anti-gay rally on May 17, 2013. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–63 percent of Georgians think it is important to protect the rights of minorities, but they don’t want such protection extended to sexual minorities. National Democratic Institute (NDI) on Monday published the results of its newest survey of public […]

Mosque issue in Batumi remains unresolved

By | August 19th, 2014|Categories: Minorities|Tags: , |

Tariel Nakaidze, one of the founders of the Union of Georgian Muslims. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–Years have passed without a solution to the need for a new mosque in Batumi. The governments keep promising Muslims that they will make a decision, but according to Muslims, both the central and the local government are attempting to delay […]

Yazidis in Tbilisi call on the world to stop ISIS

By | August 14th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

Yazidis in Tbilisi demonstrated against the brutal attacks on their people by ISIS in Iraq. (Photo: Georgian Union of Kurdish Youth.) TBILISI, DFWatch–‘Stop ISIS’ was the slogan of a rally organized by the Yazidi community in Tbilisi as a show of solidarity with their besieged countrymen in Iraq, who suffer from ruthless savagery by the terrorists from Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). […]

Georgian government official gives details about UN committee’s work

By | August 4th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: |

Surb Etchmiadzin Church in Tbilisi, where priests were attacked by a crowd last month. TBILISI, DFWatch–A government official in Georgia has provided details about the internal work of a United Nations committee tasked with overseeing the human rights situation in member countries. Levan Isakhanyan, Head of the Department of Legal Affairs, Relations […]

Waiting for new school building in Lambalo

By | July 30th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, Youth|Tags: , |

Only the foundation of the new school has been built so far. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–For seven years, children in the small predominantly Azeri village Lambalo in Georgia have had to attend school classes in old barns. In 2006, a group of experts announced that the old school in Lambalo had been sold and it was closed. The school […]

Georgian government promises to solve Batumi mosque issue

By | July 29th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: |

Friday prayer at Orta Jame mosque in Batumi, Georgia. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian government has promised once more to find a solution so Muslims in Batumi can have a place to pray. The only mosque in the city is too small to fit all the Muslims coming to pray. For decades, Muslims have been asking for permission […]

Ombudsman asks for effective investigation of Armenian church attack

By | July 22nd, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

Ombudsman Ucha Nanuashvili. (Interpressnews.) TBILISI, DFWatch–The Georgian ombudsman addresses law enforcement bodies to properly and effectively investigate the attack on priests at an Armenian church on July 19. On Saturday, about 50 people attacked Surb Etchmiadzin Church in Tbilisi. The Armenian Diocese […]

Priests attacked at Armenian church in Tbilisi

By | July 20th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

The incident took place inside the Surb Etchmiadzin Church in Tbilisi. (Photo published by the Armenian Diocese.) TBILISI, DFWatch–About 50 people physically attacked priests at an Armenian Church in Tbilisi on Saturday. The Armenian Orthodox Church says the attack was motivated by religious and ethnic prejudice, but Georgia’s Ministry of Internal Affairs […]

Naturalized Chechen still being denied to leave Georgia

By | July 15th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

Saikhan Muzayev. (Imedi.) TBILISI, DFWatch–A Chechen refugee continues to claim that he is being harassed by government bodies and that he is not allowed to cross the Georgian border. Non-governmental organizations and the Ombudsman appeal to the Ministry of Internal Affairs to stop violating his […]

British citizen tells of racial discrimination in Tbilisi

By | July 10th, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: , |

British dancer Aaron Shikamaru Charles says he is being repeatedly harassed because of the color of his skin in Tbilisi. TBILISI, DFWatch–A British citizen says he has been subjected to racial discrimination in Tbilisi. Dancer Aaron Shikamaru Charles has lived in Georgia for two years. His wife, Nutsa Eristavi, is Georgian and the artist couple carry out joint projects here. Aaron says […]

New report details obstacles for minorities in Georgia

By | July 1st, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: |

Exams in Marneuli, a predominantly ethnic Azeri town south of Tbilisi. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–There are many obstacles to integrating minorities in Georgia, according to a new report published on Thursday by the Ministry of Reconciliation and Civil Equality. Problems include access to information and education, not knowing the […]

How well did Georgia’s local election include minorities?

By | July 1st, 2014|Categories: Minorities, News|Tags: |

From left to right: Zurab Jibghashvili, constitutional expert, Zaur Khalilov, Executive Director of Civic Integration Foundation, and Agit Mirzoyev, Director of the Analytical Center for Cooperation and Consultations Between Ethnicities. (DF Watch.) TBILISI, DFWatch–On June 23, DF Watch invited members of three non-governmental organizations working with minority issues to discuss how well ethnic minorities were able to participate in the June 15 local election. Our point of departure was the fact that […]