Recommendatory policy document – Improving political participation of representatives of ethnic minorities 2019

16 May, 2020
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The present policy document is based on the study of the participation of ethnic minority representatives in the political life of Georgia which was implemented in 2018-2019 by the Institute of Social Studies and Analysis with the support of the Open Society Foundation. Its goal was to assess the situation in terms of integration and inclusion of ethnic minorities in political life. No previous studies have been conducted in Georgia with the noted focus. It should be noted that the study mostly focuses on the position of the ethnic minority representatives who live in the regions densely populated by ethnic minorities. Accordingly, the noted study is an important source of evidence in terms of strengthening and improving the political and civic participation of ethnic minorities at the state level.

Sources of the recommendations presented in this document are of two main types: on the one hand, these are proposals of ethnic minority representatives presented in the process of the study, and on the other hand, these are also best practices in similar international policies. One more source of recommendations comes from the opinions expressed by experts, political parties, as well as representatives of local and central governments and non-governmental organizations participating in the discussion held at the working meeting organized by the Institute of Social Studies and Analysis with the goal to present the study outcomes in March 2019.

The proposals presented in the policy document have a chance to be represented in the form of specific political initiatives and governmental programs/projects. In addition, the nongovernmental sector, donor organizations, and the business sector are the addressees of a part of the recommendations presented in the policy document. Overall, the implementation of the recommendations presented here will support further strengthening of indicators of social integration in the multinational society of Georgia.

The study outcomes are utilized in several directions: on the one hand, they provide an opportunity to reveal specific problems which, according to the opinion of ethnic minority representatives, remain unresolved, despite the attempts from the side of the public sector and present an opportunity to implement response from the side of the state considering the positions of target groups as much as possible; whereas, on the other hand, these data provide an opportunity to identify future policy actions based on specific evidence.

The data gathered within the frames of the study are based on the mass survey on the political participation of ethnic minorities conducted in Samtskhe-Javakheti, Kvemo Kartli, Kakheti, Tbilisi, and Batumi. It has to be noted that representatives of small-sized ethnic groups were surveyed in urban settlements (20.7% of the study participants); they consider themselves as part of Russian-language, Kurd/Yazidi, or Roma communities. 20.5% of respondents belong to the Armenian community, 20.2% – to the Azeri community, 20.1% – to the Kist community, and 18.6% – to the Ossetian community. These groups are densely populated in the Southern part of the country – in Samtskhe-Javakheeti and Kvemo Kartli regions, as well as in the Eastern part of the country – in Kakheti region.