Georgia: Situation and treatment of ethnic Armenians (November 1997 - November 1998)
|Publisher||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada|
|Author||Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada|
|Publication Date||1 November 1998|
|Citation / Document Symbol||GGA30405.E|
|Cite as||Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Georgia: Situation and treatment of ethnic Armenians (November 1997 - November 1998), 1 November 1998, GGA30405.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6ab2254.html [accessed 18 May 2013]|
A 22 August 1998 Kavkasia-Press News Agency article states:
"Our primary aim is to demand from the Georgian authorities autonomy for Akhalkalaki District," a leader of the Javakhk popular movement of ethnic Armenians [in Samtskhe-Javakheti province in southern Georgia], Ervan Sherinyan, told Kavkasia-Press. Public attention has been focused on the Armenians of Akhalkalaki District since the ethnic Armenian residents of the town of Akhalkalaki prevented Georgian troops from conducting military exercises in the area [on 12th August]. Ajaria is an autonomous entity, Abkhazia and South Ossetia also enjoy autonomy, but Akhalkalaki District, where 92 per cent of residents are ethnic Armenians, has never managed to acquire autonomy, Sherinyan said. "We demand autonomy status because we have every right to enjoy it," Sherinyan said. He believes that it is essential for the population of Akhalkalaki District to preserve its language and traditions and to have a good knowledge of its history....
"What right does Georgia have to build a railway line to Turkey via Javakheti? They know our attitude to these Turks, do they not? I know why the Georgian authorities are going to build the railway line. Because they want the Armenian population to leave the Akhalkalaki District. But this will never happen because Armenians have lived in Javakheti since ancient times," Sherinyan answered his own question....
"We are against the presence of Georgian troops here because we have a painful experience [in 1918]....No, we do not trust the Georgian military," concluded Ervan Sherinyan.
A 20 August 1998 Armenpress News Agency article refers to the above-mentioned sending of Georgian troops on 12 August 1998 as a provocation and appeals to "the Georgian authorities to take all possible measures to protect the constitutional rights of the Javakhk population and not to allow such provocations in future."
Page 92 of the 1998 International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) Annual Report states:
An issue of major concern for many religious groups, including the Catholic Church, the Armenian Church and the Jewish community involved the return of places of worship confiscated during the communist era. Some remained in the hands of the Georgian Orthodox Church but most were occupied by government agencies or businesses.
For additional information on the situation and treatment of Armenians in Georgia, please consult the Ethnic Minorities section of page 1093 of Country Reports 1997, and page 276 of the 1997 World Directory of Minorities, which are available at Regional Documentation Centres.
This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.
Armenpress News Agency [Yerevan, in Russian]. 20 August 1998. "Ethnic Armenians Appeal to Georgian Authorities to Protect Their Rights." (BBC Summary 25 Aug. 1998/NEXIS)
International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF) Annual Report. 1998. Vienna, IHF.
Kavkasia-Press News Agency [Tbilisi, in Georgian]. 22 August 1998. "Ethnic Armenians in Southern Georgia Demand Autonomy." (BBC Summary 25 Aug. 1998/NEXIS)