A presentation of recommendations of the Council of Religions of the Office of the Public Defender of Georgia02 07 2012
On June 29, a presentation of recommendations of the Council of Religions of the Office of the Public Defender of Georgia was held in the Tbilisi Marriot hotel.
The recommendations are directed to state agencies, institutions of higher education, and media organizations and aim at creating an environment of equality of rights, protecting freedom of religion, and developing a culture of tolerance in Georgia.
The recommendations developed by the Council of Religions reflect the challenges faced by religious minorities of Georgia and contain corresponding proposals. These pertain to norms of tax legislation, the issue of effective investigation of crimes committed on religious grounds, the necessity of ensuring freedom of religion and contributing to the creating a tolerant environment in public schools, and problems connected with historic cult buildings of religious minorities. The Council of Religions also addresses the media with recommendations to reflect religious diversity with more skill and more regularity and to avoid xenophobic coverage.
In his introductory speech, the Public Defender of Georgia, George Tugushi, talked about the necessity of protecting freedom of religion and equality of rights, emphasizing the positive steps taken by the state in this direction to which the Council of Religions at the Public Defender’s Office made a significant contribution. The Public Defender also expressed hope that the state would cooperate more actively with the Council of Religions and take the presented recommendations into account.
The guests were greeted by the Deputy Resident Representative of the UN Development Program in Georgia, Ms. Inita Paulovica, and the Deputy Secretary of the National Security Council, Ms. Tamar Kintsurashvili.
At the event, recommendations were presented by members of the Council of Religions: the Head of the Spiritual Council of Yezids, Dimitri Pirbar; a bishop of the Evangelist Baptist Church of Georgia, Rusudan Gotsiridze; a representative of the Armenian Apostolic Orthodox Church of Georgia, Mikheil Avakiyan; and a representative of the Faith Full Gospel Church, Lela Khonelidze.
The presentation was attended by representatives of the diplomatic corps, state agencies, the media, international and non-governmental organizations, and religious associations exiting in Georgia.
The event was organized by the Council of Tolerance at the Public Defender’s Office, with the support of the UN Development Program (UNDP).