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Statement in Support of People Living in Marneuli and Bolnisi Municipalities

The Public Defender of Georgia and the Councils of National Minorities and Religions of the Public Defender show support to the residents of Marneuli and Bolnisi municipalities and express concern about the xenophobic attitude of the certain part of the public towards ethnically Azerbaijani citizens following the imposition of a lockdown on aforementioned territories in connection with the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Today, the public is facing a particularly pressing challenge of combating the virus - the life and health of people are at risk and the medical and various spheres spare no efforts to protect citizens. In this situation, it is the duty of every citizen of Georgia to do their best to contribute to the fight against the problem and to the achievement of the common goal.

It is noteworthy that the discriminatory attitudes towards ethnic minorities periodically emerge in Georgia. However, the criticism based on ethnicity or other personal characteristics is particularly alarming in the current situation, when all people, regardless of their origin, are equally vulnerable to the risks associated with the virus.

Unfortunately, the citizens living in the Marneuli and Bolnisi municipalities face an increased risk today compared to the rest of Georgia. Referring to their ethnicity when discussing the above-mentioned problem contradicts the supreme principle of the protection of human dignity, reinforces the stigmas against ethnic minorities, promotes disintegration process and encourages social exclusion of these persons.

In view of the above, the Public Defender and the Councils of National Minorities and Religions of the Public Defender urge everyone to to show solidarity in this situation and refrain from encouraging intolerance and discrimination towards ethnic minorities.

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