thea tsulukiani

Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani. (Interpressnews.)

TBILISI, DFWatch–The government in Georgia is planning to introduce a law aimed at protecting the rights of religious, sexual, ethnic and other minorities in the country and avoid discrimination.

Speaking at Courtyard Marriott Hotel in Tbilisi, Justice Minister Thea Tsulukiani said Saturday that the new law will protect minorities and will prohibit all forms of discrimination.

The minister said the draft law is ready, and that the government has had consultations with groups of religious, ethnic and sexual minorities to hear about their situation and what problems they are experiencing.

The goal of the draft is ‘to provide equality under the law despite the views of different religious, ethnic or other minorities’.

Tsulukiani said the initiative was discussed with ministers and representatives of ministries a few days ago and ‘everyone welcomes it’.

“Now it is important to hold consultations with non-governmental organizations. Also Thomas Hammarberg suggested to consult with Swiss experts and then to present the bill to parliament,” she added.

Religious conflicts have taken place in different regions of Georgia. The most recent incident took place in Kakheti, in the Dedoplistskaro region, where the local population prevented local Muslims from conducting Friday prayer for several weeks, until the minister of reintegration arrived to attend the prayer.

For two years in a row, peaceful rallies to protest against homophobia were dispersed by parishioners and clerics. This year’s clashes resulted in about 30 injured, followed by a number of protest rallies to condemn such violence.