Religious Organizations meet with Political Parties


Throughout September 14-21, Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI) in partnership with USAID’s "Promoting Integration, Tolerance and Awareness Program [PITA], implemented by UNAG, organized meetings between religious organizations and five political parties: Free Democrats (Irakli Alasania, Mikheil Avakiani, Beniamin Kasimov), Republican Party of Georgia (Tamar Kordzaia and David Zurabishvili), United National Movement (Giorgi Tugushi, Sergo Ratiani, Sergi Kapanadze,), Georgian Dream (Tamar Chugoshvili, Sopho Katsarava), Paata Burchuladze –State for People (Iago Khvichia, Toresa Mossy, Vakhtang Megrelishvili).

Political parties presented their visions to the religious organizations about freedom of religion in Georgia and the possible ways for solving existing problems pertaining discriminatory treatment stemming from religious belonging.

All the key issues regarding freedom of religion in Georgia were covered and discussed at the meetings, including but not limited to: low rate of criminal proceedings against religiously-motivated crimes and lack of effective investigation, the State Policy regarding religious freedom - specifically the problems pertaining functioning of the State Agency of Religious Affairs, problems of indoctrination, violation of the principle of religious neutrality and proselytism at public educational institutions, offences and discrimination committed against the Muslims, impediments in terms of obtaining permission for the construction of houses of worship (especially barriers to build a mosque in Batumi), compensation of damages inflicted by the Soviet Union, restoration of the ownership on the taken religious buildings and related properties (problem of restitution), intervention of the State in autonomy of religious institutions, the state policy and practices regarding the funding of the religious organizations in Georgia, privileges of the Orthodox Church in the sphere of tax and customs law, and the issues of the institutional separation between the state and religion (church).