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Discrimination of Kurd-Yezids in Georgia

October 15, 2004

Discrimination of Kurd-Yezids in Georgia

Ethnical discrimination isn’t a widespread topic in Georgia. Nobody speaks about the problems of Kurd-Yezids; it may be surprising, but return of their own family names needs great efforts and is rather complicated. “We have to do with discrimination, which comes from the authorities” – stated Agit Mirzoev, the leader of NGO - “National Congress of Kurds.” According to statistical data, out of 1000 people, who had appealed to the court of Justice with the same request, only eight men have been entitled to restore their surnames, all the rest of them have been rejected to satisfy their request. It should be noted, that such kind of discrimination especially deals with Kurd-Yezids.  

Regaining the Kurds’ family names, who represent ethnical minorities living in Georgia isn’t only the case of their willingness, but a matter of principle. Since 2001 restoration of surnames became practically impossible, because of complicated procedures foreseen by civil law and legislative normative acts of Georgia, which don’t provide a distinct definition of what surname regaining means and how a man can restore his primary family name.

According to the information at hand, more than 1000 men had already submitted their documents to the ministry of Justice demanding the restoration of surnames and only eight of them managed to regain their own last names and this was due to their appeal against the negative answer, they had received.

A representative of ethnical minority must undergo the following stages, before regaining his/her family name: at first all necessary documentation should be presented from the archive, written assertion from the Institute of Ethnography, proving that surname, asked by the person really belongs to him. The next step should be the transfer of definite sum of money into the budget on the name of Ministry of Justice and writing of several applications. All these documents are collected in the civilian registry office, which sends them to the Ministry of Justice and the latter is obliged to present positive or negative answer during the terms foreseen by norms. In case of negative answer, if a citizen demands explanations, the ministry is obliged to substantiate its decision.

Agit Mirzoev, the leader of one NGO “National Congress of Kurds” states: “when the Ministry of Justice denied restoring my surname and I asked for explanations, one employee of the ministry told me that the process of regaining family names was frozen and this had to do with Kurds only. From the standpoint of judicial procedures, violations really took place and I consider it personal discrimination exercised towards our Diaspora. It is almost impossible to restore a surname in the country, which talks of democratic values and preaches democracy.”

The migration process of Kurd-Yezids to Georgia started from 1987 and has been going on for more than 14 years. Due to extreme poverty the majority of them have migrated to West Europe, namely to France, as the conditions which the French government has to offer to refugees and persons asking for political shelter are more acceptable than in other countries of Europe. At present there are about 20 thousand Yezids living in Georgia.

Nino Bestavashvili