Anti-discrimination bill is about making choice between Russia and Europe, therefore the Parliament will take a decision that is required for the country in order “not to stay in uncivilized world with Russia,” Georgian parliament speaker Davit Usupashvili said.
Usupashvili made the remarks while speaking with Georgian journalists in Chisinau on April 29 where he held meetings with the Moldovan leadership at the time when a heated debate was ongoing over the anti-discrimination bill in the parliamentary committee for human rights in Kutaisi. Despite fierce opposition from Orthodox clerics and some non-parliamentary opposition politicians at the parliamentary committee hearing, lawmakers gave go-ahead for the bill to be discussed with its second reading at a parliamentary session this week.
Usupashvili said : “It is about the following issue: either we go towards Europe and we recognize that we should not chase people with sticks, we should not fire people from job if we do not share their opinions and their way of life, or else we stay in Russia, where it is possible to expel from a city those people, whom you dislike, to ban from entry to shops those people, whom you do not like, and simply to go and invade a territory of others if you like that territory.”
“Decisions have to be made in this dimension when we speak about this bill and we have to take decisions that are acceptable in the civilized world in order not to stay in uncivilized world with Russia,” Usupashvili said.
He said that he mentions Russia because during the meetings in Chisinau Moldovan officials recalled “how active Russian Patriarch” was at the time when a similar bill was debated in Moldova. He said that in Moldova too the Church was against of the anti-discrimination bill and it caused a huge debate, but everything calmed down as soon as the bill was adopted.
Moldova has become the first among EU’s Eastern Partnership states, whose citizens can stay for 90 days in the Schengen zone countries without visa starting from April 28.
Adoption of the anti-discrimination legislation is one of those requirements, which Georgia has undertaken under its Visa Liberalisation Action Plan in order to be granted short-term visa-free regime by the EU.
“Russia or Europe – that’s the choice the [Georgian] Parliament and the country is making,” Usupashvili said.