International Crisis Group Analyzed Situation in Georgia Territories, Densely Populated by Azerbaijanis and Armenians
In the latest report, the International Crisis Group, examines the grievances of Georgian Armenians and Azeri Minorities, Trend reports with reference to the press-release of the International Crisis Group. Georgia has made little progress towards integrating these minorities, who constitute over 12% of the population. Armenians and Azeris are underrepresented in all spheres of public life, especially government, and lack of dialogue between them and Tbilisi adds to perceptions of discrimination and alienation. This is aggravated by economic problems, including high unemployment and decaying infrastructure. Tbilisi needs to do much more to build confidence and to encourage minorities to address their problems through the state structures rather than on the street, said Sabine Freizer, Crisis Group Caucasus Project Director. While the government denies that there is any inequality, many minorities claim they are treated as second-class citizens. Although the State took a number of steps to improve the living standards of the national minorities, none of this is likely to appease minorities political grievances without policies that increase inclusion and participation. The government needs to establish a comprehensive education system to teach Georgian as a second language to minorities, but while a new generation is educated, minorities should not be discriminated against, especially in hiring for state jobs. The state should also implement its international commitments, particularly allowing use of minority languages for state affairs in municipalities with large numbers of minority citizens, as it is in Europe.