On January 22, 2009 the special forces of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia detained Grigor Minasyan, the director of the Akhaltskha Armenian Youth Center of Samtskhe-Javakheti Region of Georgia and Sargis Hakobjanyan, the chairman of “Charles Aznavour” charitable organization. They were charged with “preparation of crime”, according to Article 18 of the Criminal Code of Georgia, and “formation or leading of a paramilitary unit” (Part 1 of Article 223) and “espionage” (Part 1 of Article 314).
The «Yerkir» Union considers these arrests as a deliberate provocation by the Georgian authorities, aimed at deterioration of the situation in the Samtskhe-Javakheti region and worsening the Armenian-Georgian relations in order to achieve the following objectives:
1. To distract the gradually increasing attention of the international community from the trial of the Javakheti Armenian political activist Vahagn Chakhalyan, during which the leader of the «United Javakhk» and its advocates raise the concerns and problems of the Javakheti Armenians, and demand their solution, which impels the Georgian authorities to commit new and apparent violations and iniquities at the court proceedings.
2. By putting up the playing card of the «Armenian separatism» before the international community, to avoid complying with its international obligations on the protection of the rights of the national minorities, including the Armenian minority.
3. By putting up the same «Armenian separatism» card, to push the Armenian authorities to new compromises when it comes to solution of the problems of the Armenians of Javakheti and Georgia.
Therefore, the «Yerkir» Union appeals to the international community, urging them to take immediate measures in order to halt the deepening crisis and to address the socio-economic, linguistic, educational and religious problems of the Armenian minority of Georgia.
The international community has an obligation to send a clear message to the Georgian authorities, emphasizing that they have no alternative to the solving the problems of the ethnic minorities living in the country. Only a democratic Georgia, respecting its ethnic diversity, can avoid further disruption and guarantee the sustainable development of the country.
January 23, 2009