A joint statement of civil society and religious organizations

We, signatories to his statement, once again express our negative attitude to the draft law initiated in the Parliament of Georgia which imposes administrative liability for public expression of hatred towards sacred religious objects, a religious organization, a clergyman, or a believer. The draft law also declares it an administrative offence to interfere unlawfully into religious service and/or into the exercise of other religious rites or customs, as well as to desecrate religious buildings and other sacred objects, to make any inscriptions on them, and/or to damage them.

We believe that the Parliament of Georgia must not allow the adoption of the aforementioned law, because it contradicts the standards established by the Constitution of Georgia and international acts in the area of human rights, its adoption does not proceed from the interest of protection of religious minorities, and, due to the realities existing in Georgia, there is a danger that it will be used precisely against the latter, as well as against freedom of expression in general.

It should be noted that prior to the release of this statement, the Council of Religions at the Office of the Public Defender of Georgia, a large part of whose member religious organizations are also signatories to this statement, also stated its negative position in connection with the draft law.

The statement is open for signatures for all civil society organizations:

Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI)

Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI)

Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA)

Human Rights Education and Monitoring Center (EMC)

Transparency International – Georgia (TI – Georgia)

International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy (ISFED)

Union “Sapari”

Article 42 of the Constitution

ALPE Foundation

Media Development Foundation (MDF)

Liberty Institute

Caucasus Apostolic Administration of Latin Rite Catholics

Union of Georgian Muslims

Evangelical Baptist Church

Pentecostal Church

Seventh-day Christian Adventist Church

Evangelical Protestant Church of Georgia

Evangelical Baptist Church – “Madli”

Religious Society of Friends – Quakers

Full Evangelical Church – People of God