Support and solidarity to Georgian striking students and professors

Georgia: The majority of Georgian higher education students and academic staff announced a strike demanding the Parliament’s “Russian Law” (“The Transparency of Foreign Influence”), which was added by some universities’ academic staff since May 13, 2024. 

It was followed on May 14 by the announcement of the Standing Conference of Rectors, which found that “it is unacceptable that some representatives of academic staff refuse to perform their duties.” This hinders the management of the learning process and violates the student’s constitutional rights.

On 14 and 15 May, it became known that some universities who signed the statement withdrew their signature.

Article 17 of the Constitution of Georgia protects freedom of thought and expression, but the persecution of a person for his opinion and expression is prohibited. Article 26 3 recognizes the right to strike; Article 3 states that the people are the source of the state government. Article 78 states that constitutional bodies within their powers shall take all measures to ensure Georgia’s full integration within the EU and North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Over the last month, several thousands of protests by representatives of the highest governing bodies of the EU and NATO member countries, despite warnings that, if the law is adopted, Georgia will no longer be a member of the European Union, with the adoption of the Russian law into the Parliament.

He disregarded the constitution’s provision that people are the source of government and constitutional bodies such as Parliament should make efforts to join Georgia in the European Union.

Against this background, it is the right of any citizen of Georgia; therefore, students and professors-teachers should apply forms of protest guaranteed by the Constitution of Georgia, including strikes, to force the current government to act according to the people’s will. Developed events show that a strike is a form of protest by students and professors against “Russian law.” 

Hence, if expressed peacefully, it is treated within the articles mentioned above of the constitution. Any action that will aggravate the legal status of the striking student or academic personnel by imposing a disciplinary fee, dismissal, postponing the student’s exam date, denying the opportunity to resume the subjects, etc. 

It constitutes discrimination against the expression of critical opinion against “Russian law,” which is also prohibited by Article 11 of the Constitution. 

Trade unions, students, and professors have been actively protesting the “Russian law” since the day of its initiation and calling for the workers to go on strike. 

SEC Workers Union believes that protecting the Constitution of Georgia, especially Article 78, is the responsibility of not only constitutional bodies but also every Georgian citizen.

Zurab Kvaratskhelia

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