Participation of Persons Belonging to National Minorities – Cases of Samtskhe-Javakheti and Gali

in International Journal on Minority and Group Rights
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This article explores inter-ethnic and minority participation issues in conflict prevention and ongoing conflict settings. Its focus is on two cases: Georgia's Armenian-inhabited Samtskhe-Javakheti and the Georgian-inhabited Gali district under Abkhaz control. Conflict prevention and resolution contexts have been deeply intertwined in Georgia. Tbilisi's approach to Armenian and Azeri minorities has been affected by ongoing conflict in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and it has in turn had an impact on Abkhaz and Ossetian perceptions of Georgian conflict resolution policies. Some progress with integration of Azeri and Armenian minorities has been achieved, but much is yet to be accomplished: among others, a genuinely open dialogue and a change in the spirit of majority-minority relations are needed. Gali Georgians are trapped between Tbilisi and Sukhumi in increasingly precarious conditions after the 2008 war. Their community has a great potential for conflict transformation activity; the parties to the conflict and the international community should support them to apply it.

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