Anti-discrimination law essential for visa liberalization

EU representative Boris Iarochevitch commented on the anti-discrimantion bill., 29 Apr 2014 - 13:06, Tbilisi,Georgia

Hampering the adaptation of the anti-discrimination law will lead to the postponement of the visa liberalization process, said the European Union (EU) representative in Georgia today.

Deputy head of the EU delegation Boris Iarochevitch evaluated the draft law and said it did not apply only to minority groups.

"This is a human rights issue. It does not apply only to defending the minorities. The draft law protects women from discrimination, workers at and outside their workplace. This is not an entirely new law. In Georgia these rights were protected by various laws, they are just being collected in one bill now,” he said.

"The anti-discrimination law does not create new rights, it consolidates what already existed before. The EU and Georgia share the same values. Georgia wants to get closer to Europe so we wanted to adopt a law that comes into line with the EU legislation.

"This law is not connected with same-sex marriage, it only protects minorities. It has nothing to do with the Association Agreement but it will affect the visa liberalization process. If the adoption of the draft law will be hampered, the process of visa liberalization will be delayed,” Iarochevtich noted.

The anti-discrimination draft law passed in Parliament at its first hearing, when the Patriach’s Office of Georgia issued a statement asking Parliament to postpone adopting the law.

Meanwhile, dozens of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) called on the Government to make the law more effective and provide more precise explanations for what discrimination signs were.

Parliament’s Human Rights Committee is set discuss the draft law at a second hearing, by each article today. The discussion will also be attended by representatives of local NGOs and members of the wider community.