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Press

18-11-2005

Georgia’s Declarations to the Council of Europe Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities

Unofficial translation by the European Centre for Minority Issues, Regional Office, Georgia

Resolution of the Parliament of Georgia

On the ratification of the Framework Convention for the Protection of
National Minorities

The Parliament of Georgia resolves:

1. To ratify the Strasbourg Framework Convention for the Protection of
National Minorities of 1 February 1995.

2. To take into account, with the ratification of the Framework
Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (further "the
Convention") the following:

a) Georgia bases the interpretation of the term "national minorities" on
the below mentioned criteria and considers that the status of "national
minority" can only be conferred to a group of individuals in case
members of the group:

- are Georgian citizens;
- differ from the dominant part of the population in terms of language,
culture and ethnic identity;
- have been living on the Georgian territory for a long time;
- live in compact settlements on the Georgian territory;

b) In conformity with article 10 of the Convention, Georgia assumes the
obligation to guarantee to persons belonging to a national minority the
assistance of a translator in relations with administrative organs and
in legal proceedings, thereby enabling them to enjoy the right to use
the minority language as granted to them by the above mentioned article.
Georgia also assumes the obligation to create, as far as possible, the
conditions enabling persons belonging to national minorities to learn
the State language;

c) In conformity with article 11.1 of the Convention, the obligation to
write, in official documents, first names and surnames of persons
belonging to national minorities in Georgian language in a way that
respects, as far as possible, their pronunciation in the minority
language is established by internal legislation;

d) In conformity with article 11.3 of the Convention, situations
concerning the use of street names and other topographical indications
in Georgian and in minority languages in regions traditionally inhabited
by a significant number of representatives of national minorities are
settled by internal legislation. Georgia does not consider this right
granted to national minorities as obliging the State to change existing
names of territorial units and considers it inappropriate to sign
further international treaties on the above-mentioned issue;

e) Georgia shares and agrees with the goals and the spirit of article 16
of the Convention. At the same time this article shall not concern
settlement processes that may take place after resettlement of victims
of ecological or technical catastrophes on the territory of the country,
and of persons living in zones considered dangerous for their life and
health. In addition the above-mentioned article shall not concern
temporary or permanent settlement of refugees and forced displaced
persons;

f) In relation to article 18 of the Convention, Georgia declares that
the protection of national minorities' rights is recognized by the
Constitution, the legislation of Georgia, conventions, treaties and
agreements to which Georgia has acceded and which recognize and protect
the rights of national minorities. Accordingly, Georgia recognizes the
requirements envisaged by the Convention, but considers it inappropriate
to sign further international treaties on the above-mentioned issue;

g) In relation to article 30 of the Convention, Georgia declares that it
may ensure full and guaranteed observance of the Convention's provisions
on the whole territory of the country only after the recovering of the
territorial integrity of the state and the resolution of the Abkhazia
and former South Ossetia autonomous region conflicts. Georgia asks for
the assistance of the Council of Europe and its member states to enable
the full compliance with the spirit and the provisions of the Convention
in regards to the population of the Abkhazia and former South Ossetia
autonomous region.

3. The requests foreseen by point 2 of the present resolution form an
integral part of the decision of the Parliament of Georgia on the
ratification of the Convention for the Protection of National
Minorities.

Speaker of Parliament Nino Burjanadze

Tbilisi
13 October 2005

For further information, please contact Mr. Tom Trier, ECMI Regional Representative for the Caucasus at tel. +995 99 27 66 80.

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