17:35, Saturday, 16.12.2017
YouTube
Twitter
Facebook
RSS
ქართული English

Web Portal on Human Rights in Georgia

Go
Advanced Search

Statement on Limitation of Freedom of Religion in the Constitution

27.09.2017

We urge the parliament of Georgia to consider the opinion of The Venice Commission[1], religious organizations[2], NGOs, academic institutions and lawyers[3]  not to allow restriction of freedom of religion on unjustified grounds by the third hearing of constitutional amendments.

The Parliament of Georgia added ambiguous criteria such as “state security”, “prevention of crime” and ”implementation of justice” with the second hearing on spring session of 2017. Despite the fact that The Venice Commission urged the Government with its first official opinion to state the legitimate reasons of intervention in freedom of religion according to the Human Rights International Standards, parliamentary majority still decided to interfere in rights on ambiguous and high-risk based grounds.     

According to the Current Constitution of Georgia, freedom of belief, conscience and religion shall be restricted only if it violates the rights of others. Currently the draft amendments considers six justifications for interference in freedom of religion, the “state security”, “prevention of crime” and ”implementation of justice” out of which do not comply with international standards. The European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (ECHR), International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the majority of European Constitutions do not allow interference in freedom of religion based on such criteria.         

Accordingly, the Venice Commission emphasized in its second opinion on draft constitution submitted to the Government of Georgia on September 22 that provided grounds do not represent the legitimate aims for interfering in freedom of religion and belief; legitimate aims for interfering in the sense of paragraph 2 of Article 9 ECHR require strict interpretation and may not be extended by way of interpretation to other notions. The Venice Commission referred to the case-law of the European Court of Human Rights, according to which the State cannot restrict the freedom of religion on the grounds of state/national security [4].

Accordingly, we consider that the amendments made by the State to the draft constitution raises high risk of disproportionate interference in the freedom of belief, conscious and religion. This threat is also increased with context of state policy, as illegal restriction of freedom of religion and inadequate, ineffective response of the state to the violations are still frequent and systemic.        

Signatories urge the Parliament of Georgia:

To consider recommendations of religious organizations, NGOs, academic institutions, lawyers and the Venice Commission and to amend the constitutional provision containing high risk of interfering in freedom of religion so that they comply with the legitimate aims of Article 9 of the European Convention for Human Rights.   
  • Tolerance and Diversity Institute (TDI)
  • Georgian Democracy Initiative (GDI)
  • Media Development Foundation (MDF)
  • Georgian Young Lawyers’ Association (GYLA)
  • Open Society - Georgia Foundation (OSGF)
  • UN Association of Georgia (UNAG)
  • Civil Development Agency (CiDA)
  • Partnership for Human Rights (PHR)
  • Georgia's Reforms Associates (GRASS)
  • Human Rights Center (HRIDC)
  • Judicial Empowerment and Legal Education Center of Ilia State University
  • Center for Constitutional Studies of School of Law at Ilia State University
  • Tbilisi Free University National Institute for Human Rights
  • Konstantine Kublashvili, Professor at Ilia State University, head of Judicial Empowerment and Legal Education Center at Ilia State University
  • David Zedelashvili, Constitutional law expert
  • Giorgi Meladze, Lawyer, Professor at Ilia State University
  • Tamar Gurchiani, Associate Professor of School of Law at Ilia State University 
  • Levan Ramishvili, Professor of School of Law at Ilia State University
  • Giorgi Burjanadze, Constitutional law expert
  • Giorgi Chitidze, Lawyer
  • Mikheil Sharashidze, Lawyer 

 
 
[1] Opinion of the Venice Commission on Draft constitution, paragraph 39, September 22, 2017    http://www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/default.aspx?pdffile=CDL-PI(2017)006-e

[2] Statement of The Council of Religions under the Public Defender of Georgia on limitation of freedom of religion in the draft amendments to the Constitution http://www.ombudsman.ge/en/news/council-of-religions-address-to-the-parliament-of-georgia.page

[3] The NGOs, academic organizations and lawyers applied to the Parliament of Georgia, the President and respective International Organizations on August 2, 2017  http://tdi.ge/en/statement/address-civil-society-organizations-and-lawyers-limitation-freedom-religion-draft  

[4] Nolan and K. v. Russia, application no. 2512/04
 
Print Send to Friend Send to Facebook Tweet This
Leave your comment
Your name:
Your comment:

Security code: Code
OTHER NEWS
POLL
Were the local government elections held democratically?
Yes No I do not have an answer

BLOG

Disbelief based on partiality Reality is different
In recent days, Campaign This Affects You has become more active for the society. A new slogan has appeared on the famous label
Detailed...
Fragile Peace in Balkans
Hungry Commission Members and Commission Chairpersons Angry with Observers in Batumi
Archive




EDITORIAL

Forgotten by government veterans
Every year, fewer and fewer veterans of the World War II meet the Victory Day. The society receives information about them only on
Detailed...
Villages of the Hopeless
What happened to Dream of Justice Revival?
Archive
THEMES
CATEGORIES

Copyright © 2004 - 2017 HRIDC