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Public Defender's Recommendation on Discrimination Based on Dissent

The Public Defender found discrimination against a former employee of the National Museum on the ground of dissent and addressed the Minister of Culture, the National Museum of Georgia and the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia with a recommendation to eliminate discrimination.

The Public Defender was applied by the former employee of the National Museum, whose project won the doctoral grant competition announced by the Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation. Despite this, by the decision of the First Deputy Director General of the National Museum, from May 2022 to February 2023 (approximately for 8 months), the employee was forbidden to enter the National Museum and carry out research activities.

In addition, the applicant had not received an answer relating to the conduct of archaeological excavations for 5 months, while according to the Law on Licences and Permits, the permit issuer is obliged to make a decision on the issuance of a permit within 20 days after submitting the application. The response received from the National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation after 5 months makes it clear that the agency itself is planning archaeological works and further development of the territory located in the village of Kvemo Orozmani.

The Public Defender believes that the letter received from the Cultural Heritage Agency does not meet the requirements established by legislation for the individual administrative-legal act.

It is significant that the applicant has repeatedly criticized the Minister of Culture and the decisions of the new administration of the National Museum. Unfortunately, the respondents did not even try to name a legitimate purpose that would have justified the different treatment and would have given the Public Defender an opportunity to discuss the issue of the reasonableness of the objective and reasonable justification of the different treatment and the legitimate purpose.

In his recommendation, the Public Defender urged:

The National Museum of Georgia:

  • To ensure the admission of the winners in the grant contests of the Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation to the working rooms of the National Museum and to facilitate the implementation of scientific and research activities.

The National Agency for Cultural Heritage Preservation of Georgia:

  • Taking into account the requirements of legislation, to issue a permit for the archaeological works requested by the applicant at the archaeological site of Orozmani.

To the Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth of Georgia:

  • As a supervisory agency, to monitor the process of implementation of the recommendations issued by the Public Defender of Georgia to the legal persons of public law operating within its jurisdiction and to ensure the compliance of internal organizational acts and policies with the Law of Georgia on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination, and in the absence of such policy documents, to ensure their timely development.
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