YEREVAN—A group of bloggers announced Monday that they have initiated an online petition calling on Georgian authorities to end their rampant discrimination of Armenians in Samtskhe-Javakheti (Javakhk).
The petition, addressed to President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Thorbjørn Jagland and Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations, highlights that April 17 will mark the 1,000th day on incarceration of a Javakhk Armenian activist, Vahagn Chakhalyan, who was arrested on the eve of the Russian-Georgia was and, later, sentenced to 10 years by a Georgian court.
“After Vahagn Chakhalyan’s arrest, multi-directional violations of the rights of the Armenian population of Javakheti gained a higher momentum. Thus, the social and political life of the Javakheti Armenians is today totally controlled by security forces. Under the pretext of improving the knowledge of the Georgian language, measures are officially taken for the quick ‘Georgianisation’ of Armenian schools. Armenian teachers who have the courage to protest against such measures are fired. It is within this atmosphere of general disappointment and boycott that the local elections were rigged in May 2010,” said the petition.
“A number of authoritative international organizations, such as the UN Commission on Human Rights and the Council of Europe, frequently urged the Georgian authorities to tackle the problems of the Armenian minority of Georgia and find adequate solutions, but the Georgian government has been constantly ignoring all these calls,” added the petition.
The petition places the following six demands on the international organizational leaders:
1. To stop all persecutions against Vahagn Chakhalyan and to release him immediately.
2. To grant a special regional status to the Armenian language in the regions where Armenians make-up the majority of the population.
3. To endow the Georgian Diocese of the Armenian Apostolic Church with a long-awaited legal status, and to return to its jurisdiction the Armenian churches confiscated during the Soviet era.
4. To stop all programs pursuing the “Georgianisation” of the Armenian schools.
5. To abolish the ban on the entry of Armenian books and written press through the customs checkpoint on the Armenian-Georgian border in Bavra-Ninodzminda.
6. To abolish the ban on the entry into Georgia of Armenian personalities concerned with the problems of Javakheti.
Sign the petition here.