Akhalgori Pupils and School Personnel are forbidden to Speak in Georgian

As DRI is informed, Georgian citizens living in the occupied Akhalgori territory are denied from the right to education in their native language.

The politics of the occupation forces are increasingly aggravating the life of the ethnic Georgian population. Along with the restriction of the right to the freedom of movement, the restriction of the right to education to national language is also a serious issue.

Two Georgian school principals have been recently fired in Akhalgori. Nino Amiranashvili, principal of Akhalgori First High School and Mzia Phsuturi, Principal of Ikoti Village High School are among those who were dismissed.

According to the Democracy Research Institute, before her dismissal the principal of Akhalgori First High School received a notice because of pupils and teachers speaking in Georgian language in primary school classes. The principal was warned that even during the breaks, children should not speak in Georgian with the pupils whose classes are still being taught in Georgian. The dismissal of the second Georgian school principal Mzia Psuturi also raises questions. However, in case of Nino Amiranashvili the occupation forces attribute the abovementioned dismissal to the enrollment of pupils from Tserovani without relevant documentation. In case of Mzia Phsuturi, it was connected to the "lack of pedagogical education".

Prohibition of the Georgian language in Akhalgori educational institutions has been alarming in recent years. According to the Democracy Research Institute, a few days ago, the so-called educational commission, which has arrived from Tskhinvali in Akhalgori, has issued similar warnings to almost all educational institutions. Teachers and school staff were prohibited to speak in Georgian not only with children but with each other too.

Alongside this, there is no end in sight to Akhalgori isolation. After the closure of Mosabruni so-called check-point, several Akhalgori school teachers remained in the Georgian-controlled territory and did not manage to get to the occupied territory, which further aggravated the studying process for Georgian pupils.

The right to education is a right guaranteed by the International Human Rights Law. It is reinforced by binding treaties for both the UN and the Council of Europe. Although the European Convention on Human Rights[1] does not specify the language in which education must be conducted, the European Court of Human Rights clarifies that the right to education would be meaningless if it did not imply in favour of its beneficiaries, the right to be educated in the national language[2].

The Democracy Research Institute believes that the government of Georgia should discuss the issue of violation of the right to education in the national language in the occupied territories during all the international meeting and ensure the conversation in the Geneva International Discussions format and in the framework of the Incident Prevention and Response Mechanism meetings. In addition, use legal mechanisms, including the possibility to apply to the European Court of Human Rights.

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The 2015 special report of the Public Defender of Georgia on the Right to Education in the Gali District states that “The present report does not cover the right to education in the Akhalgori district as there have not been any significant changes in education processes there since 2008.” However, the situation has changed drastically since 2017, when the process of "Russification" of Georgian schools began. Six out of the ten schools currently operating in Akhalgori are Georgian, which have step by step moved to Russian teaching since 2017. In these schools, from the first to the sixth grade, the teaching process is fully Russian. Georgian language is taught as a separate subject.




[1] The Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, Additional Protocol No 1, Article 2

[2] CASE OF CATAN AND OTHERS v. THE REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA AND RUSSIA, October 19, 2012,  Paragraph 137, available at:{%22itemid%22:[%22001-114082%22]}