Joint Submission by TDI and Forum 18 for UPR of Georgia: Freedom of Religion
On 9 July the Tolerance and Diversity Institute and Forum 18 made a joint submission to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of Georgia. The document overviews freedom of religion and belief situation in Georgia and includes specific recommendations.
The full text of the submission is available here.
The submission overviews:
- State policy, practice and legislation on freedom of religion and belief;
- Negative role of the State Agency for Religious Issues that has systematically increased the obstacles to Non-Georgian Orthodox Church religious communities being able to exercise freedom of religion and belief;
- State attempts to impose impermissible limitations on freedom of religion and belief;
- Discriminatory legal provisions;
- Non-implementation of laws protecting the exercise of freedom of religion and belief;
- Denials of building permits for non-Georgian Orthodox Church communities;
- Non-return and illegitimate transfer of buildings of non-Georgian Orthodox Church communities;
- Illegal censorship of non-Georgian Orthodox literature at State borders;
- Violations of children’s, young people’s, parents’ and guardians’ freedom of religion and belief;
- Obstacles to celebrating holidays in accordance with the precepts of one's religion or belief;
- Preventing non-Georgian Orthodox communities training clergy and theologians.
In the 2015 UPR review, Georgia received 16 recommendations touching on freedom of religion and belief-related issues; 15 were accepted and one was noted. Most of the recommendations Georgia accepted have not been implemented, and many in varying degrees remain relevant today.
The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a unique process which involves a periodic review of the human rights records of all 193 UN Member States. A review cycle is a four-and-half year period within which all UN Member states’ human rights records are reviewed. The reviews are based on the information provided by the State under review, the information contained in the reports of independent human rights experts and groups, and information from other stakeholders including national human rights institutions and non-governmental organizations. The State has the primary responsibility to implement the recommendations contained in the final report. In the frame of the 3rd cycle of UPR, Georgia will be reviewed at the 37th session in January-February 2021.