MINELRES: New ECMI publications on Georgia
Wed Jul 15 08:51:22 2009
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Recent ECMI Publications
Jonathan Wheatley, Georgia and the European Charter for Regional or
Minority Languages. ECMI Working Paper #42. Flensburg: European Centre
for Minority Issues, June 2009.
Download English version:
Download Russian version:
Download Georgian version:
Georgia is a multilingual and multi-ethnic society. A large number of
minority languages are spoken in Georgia, including Abkhazian, Ossetian,
Azeri, Armenian, Russian, Ukrainian, Kurmanji (Kurdish), Chechen (Kist),
Ottoman Turkish, Pontic Greek, Syriac, Avar, Tsova-Tush and Udi. In
addition, four distinct languages are spoken by the majority Georgian
population - Georgian, Megrelian, Svan and Laz - although these are
basically vernacular languages that are not normally written.
According to Article 8 of the Georgian constitution, the official state
language is Georgian, and in Abkhazia, also Abkhazian. Most minority
languages are spoken only in certain regions of the country.
On being formally admitted to the Council of Europe in April 1999,
Georgia pledged to sign and ratify the European Charter for Regional or
Minority Languages (ECRML) within a year of its accession. However, ten
years after joining the Council of Europe, Georgia has still neither
signed nor ratified the Charter. There are a number of reasons for the
reluctance of the Georgian government to sign and ratify the ECRML.
There is for example the very practical question of whether the goals of
integration on the one hand, and promotion of minority languages on the
other, can be reconciled. The main problem facing Georgia in terms of
consolidating a community or demos, consisting of 'we, the people' is
the absence of a common language that all 'the people' speak.
This problem is one that is common to most, if not all successor states
to the USSR; however in Georgia, the problem has been especially severe
due to the weakness of the state during the 1990s and early 2000s and
the consequent failure to integrate geographically isolated non-Georgian
speakers into the civic life of the country.
Giorgia Sordia, A Way Out? Initial Steps Towards Addressing Romani
Issues in Georgia. ECMI Issue Brief #21. Flensburg: European Centre for
Minority Issues, May 2009.
Download English version: http://www.ecmi.de/download/brief_21_eng.pdf
Download Georgian version: http://www.ecmi.de/download/brief_21_geo.pdf
The Romani community are one of the least studied ethnic minorities in
Georgia and issues such as their history, daily life, relations with
other ethnic groups and the problems they face remain virtually
unexplored. Unlike many European countries where over the past decade
the protection of Romani rights and promotion of their integration into
society has become systematic, in Georgia the facilitation of equal
possibilities for Roms and the protection of their rights exists only at
a rudimentary level. One of the main reasons for this is undoubtedly the
limited information on Roms and their conditions, both among the
authorities and in society as a whole. This publication can be seen as
an attempt to meet this need for further research in this
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