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TDI appeals to court against the National Assessment and Examination Center

By Khatia Bzhalava
Thursday, July 16
Tolerance and Diversity Institute released a statement, according to which, on July 15th, 2020, TDI submitted an injunction application to the Tbilisi City Court against NAEC (National Assessment and Examination Center). According to the statement, the center rejected a request of two university entrants, members of the Seventh-Day Adventist church to pass the English language exam on another day other than Saturday.

The university applicants addressed the NAEC on June 30th of 2020 with a request of rescheduling an exam registered on July 18th as they are unable to be tested on Saturday due to their religious beliefs. It is not allowed for the members of this church to be engaged in secular activities, including testing for exams. As TDI states, this right of theirs is protected under the freedom of religion and belief recognized by the Constitution of Georgia and international law.

According to the statement, the request has not been satisfied by NAEC because “the schedule had been already approved.” However, TDI states that the exams in English language are set on three different dates, July 17th- 19th, and since there is a possibility of switching exam dates for the mentioned applicants, considering the fact that they applied their request to NAEC on time, freedom of religion and belief is being violated. TDI believes that the right to education is also being violated as due to indifference of the state, these young people will not be able to participate in Unified National Exams of 2020 and to continue their studies in higher educational institutions. “The refusal of the state entity is also discriminatory,” the statement reads.

TDI finds the state’s ‘insensitivity’ towards freedom of religion and beliefs alarming.

The statement reads that, regarding the UN’s declaration on Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, freedom of belief and religion includes a right to rest on religious holidays.

“The injunction application submitted by the TDI on July 15th requests an interim measure of the court to order the NAEC to allow two members of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church to sit the English language exam on July 17th or July 19th or any other day except Saturday,” reads the statement.

After the injunction application, TDI will file a lawsuit against the court with the demands of annulling the refusal on the request of rescheduling the exam, determining the facts of religion-based discrimination and the imposition of compensation for damages.

According to the statement, the Public Defender also studies the case.