2008-04-07Reconciliation for Georgian-Abkhazian Families
Links are not always destroyed because of political problems and armed conflicts. There are still many kinks working Georgians and Abkhazians. There are many mixed families who were caught up in events that were out of their control in the early 90s. Such human resources are very important in restoring trust between parties to ethnic and political conflict. Rezo Bendeliani has been leading the Association of Georgian-Abkhazian Mixed Families for many years. The aim of the organization is to reunite families that have been torn apart because of the Abkhaz-Georgian war. The track record is impressive with 3,500 families being rejoined since 2003.
2008-04-04Public Defender Supports Hog Farmers
Georgian Public Defender Sozar Subari demands that the government to come up with funds to compensate small swine producers that suffered losses from the Montgomery disease and the culling of herds. The Ombudsman sent recommendations to the Prime Minister Vladimir Gurgenidze and Davit Tkeshelashvili, the State Minister for Regional Management. If the government does not consider the recommendations of those who were impacted Sozar Subari intends to take a case to court and hold the government financially responsible. Moreover, demonstrations will be organized as part of the effect to cover the losses sustained by farmers.
2008-04-03Georgian Rule of Law Tarnished and Broken by “Governmental” Courts
Attorneys in Kutaisi have expressed their position about forbidding cameras at the court while trial. Most local lawyers consider that the government will not change its mind and the quality of court proceeding and justice will only turn to worse. The term “Impartial Court” should become even more unreal and Georgia will become a state that can only prosecute and all will be found guilty. The attorneys announced today that everything happened just as they had expected. Governors have bribed the court and justice shows.
2008-04-03Whose Membership Is More Important in Parliament: “Businessmen or Drivers?”
The pre-election battle has already started heating up for the up-coming Parliamentary Elections on May 21. Political parties, both oppositional and governmental ones, have been actively involved the process with finger pointing, name calling and deal making. Each party has its own selective method of fighting it out in the political trenches. The National Movement tries to gain the sympathy of people in various ways, not only by making various promises but tries to improve its image by offering familiar faces for future parliament members. In the new list of National Movement you will see not only culture figures but pragmatic business leaders as well. Why would such upstanding and successful people ever want to get politics in the first place? Are they ready to give up their successful businesses and get into the fight against the opposition and become public servants?
2008-04-03IDPs living Akhaltsikhe wait for registration of their flats
IDPs residing in Akhaltsikhe can only hope for better times. They have become accustomed to never-ending disappointment. They have attempted to solve some of their problems by appealing to the Akhaltsikhe Municipality Council for the purpose but it makes little difference in their lives. They find themselves holding the short end of the stick.
2008-04-02Stones Thrown in the Flooded Liakhvi River, Yellow-Red Facades, Japanese Quince Trees against Poverty
At last the pre-election campaign in Gori has been initiated in the name of “Poverty Reduction Program” and prosperity is within a stones throw. With much fanfare in the last week almost all high-ranking officials from the executive government have visited Gori and its various districts. The officials enjoyed watching how stone were being thrown in the flooded Liakhvi River. Several ministers with their deputies arrived in Gori from Tbilisi just to see heaps of stones that had delivered from Marneuli district.
2008-04-02Waterless and Harvestless Farmer in Kakheti
Protesting peasant farmers in Kakheti are angry and their tempers have already reached peaked out. Thousands are demanding water so to irrigate their small plots. They have appealed to the Georgian Ministry of Agriculture and local government several times with their pleas but to no avail. Unless “Alazani Ltd” allows water to be diverted into irrigation system immediately, it is highly possible that this year’s crop will be a complete failure. Many of the seedlings of cucumber, tomato and other vegetable crops have already been severely impacted by not having access to water.
2008-04-01Sidewalks and Side-deals: Characteristic Feature for Pre-Election Campaign
Pre-election campaign is starting out with the removal of broken sidewalks and ends with the laying of a new layer of concrete or tiles, which will need replacement the next election. Habits are hard to break, especially when the local government maintains the same traditions as to what has gone before. Now it is all busy work and the central part of the city is getting dug in the run-up to May parliamentary elections.
2008-04-01“Increasing Pension does not “Helping People”
Today is the first of April (fool’s day in Georgia). From this day on more than half million pensioners in Georgia will receive a 70 GEL pension instead of their much expected 55 GEL. It is not a joke, be it April fool or not; there is a pension increase in Georgia and this is part of the much acclaimed 50-day poverty reduction program that the government boosts so much about.
2008-03-31Prosecutor’s Office Investigates Election Violations but Violators “Not Punished”
The final report of the International Observation Mission on the Snap Presidential Elections of January 5 2008 in Georgia stresses that the elections were carried out with many blatant violations. The report assesses the counting of the votes and the preparation of elections reports in negative terms. Local observation organizations also speak about flawed election reports. Georgian Public Defender has applied to the Prosecutor’s Office alongside international and local observers to react on above-mentioned violations. The investigation was kicked-off based on the many appeals. However, despite several evidences, there has not been a single instance where someone has been prosecuted for violations of election law.
2008-03-26Vardzelashvili Preferred Regional Governor than Majority MP
The on-going fight for a seat in the Georgian parliament will supposedly start at the beginning of April in Shida Kartli Region when the pre-election campaign will be officially announced. According to the Human Rights Center the National Movement, leading party, has slated its candidates in all four districts in the region. Some personnel changes were made in New Rights; the new movement “Georgian Politics” managed to open the regional office earlier than the HQ was opened in Tbilisi. However, parties do not announce their candidate, which means in short that they have not made the final decision.
2008-03-26Every Fifth Woman Suffers from Domestic Violence
Domestic violence is one of the frequent and increasing problems not only in Georgia but worldwide. Many organizations work toward solving this problem and one of them is the Georgia based non-governmental organizations National Network of Protection from Violence (NNPV).
2008-03-26Poverty in Vineyards: Saakashvili Meets Only Grateful Farmers
Georgian President visited Kakheti Region of East Georgia. It is noted that Mikheil Saakashvili personally oversaw the distribution of fuel among peasant farmers in Kakheti. Several peasants, who were hand-picked for a carefully staged meeting; naturally they thanked the president for the government’s active and open relationship with the populace. Residents of other districts also wanted to meet the president in Tsnori, and they were recorded on film following Saakashvili as he visited agricultural plots during a one hour PR tour.
2008-03-25“Cow Settlement” Reached at Imereti Region Executive Bureau
On March 24 2008 Durmishkhan Khurtsilava, Khoni District executor of the Imereti Region Executive Bureau, with the support of the Human Rights Center’s Imereti Office concluded forcible judgment based on a court verdict. The socially excluded family finally received justice after a protracted fight of five years.
2008-03-25Soldiers of the Abkhazian Unit Flee Mukhrovani Military Base in Mass
Nearly 450 men from Sokhumi, Gagra, Ochamchire, Gudauta and Zugdidi, had gathered for the purpose of establishing an Abkhazian Unit, seeking to regain their homeland. However, they were soon disappointed. They had been taken to the Mukhrovani Military base under the pretext of serving out a four-year-contract with high salary, benefits and the opportunity to serve their country. However, soon they abandoned the unit out of protest. They consider themselves deceived and offended. The former soldiers then applied to the Human Rights Center’s Samegrelo-Zemo Svaneti Regional Office for assistance and they told their story.
2008-03-24“Homeland of Potato” Harvestless for 2008
Samtskhe-Javakheti region in south-eastern Georgia, which was always considered to be the “homeland and breadbasket of potatoes,” now faces the immediate danger of facing this crop season without much of a potato harvest. The damage from the prolonged frosts has amounted to 12 million GEL already, and much seed potatoes have been frozen where it will not germinate. This year’ severe winter has created many problems for agriculture with 15 thousand tones of seed-potato frozen.
2008-03-24Increased in Dead Street Children
Convention on the Rights of Child is based on four essential principles: right to life, development, protection and participation. Every country that has ratified the convention should comply with those guiding principles and Georgia is one among those countries that signed the convention on June 2 1994. Georgia is obligated to protect the fundamental rights of the child on national level.
2008-03-24Metekhi “Brovka” Is Wrecking, City Hall Officials State – What’s Unusual
The rock cliffs are as much as anything else to the Tbilisi Landscape. Old hotels and houses are erected on the heights above the Mtkvari River that cuts Tbilisi in two. A new construction is being carried out on the plot in Mukuzani Street # 7: Besarion Khvinteliani, a Georgian businessman who works in Russia is constructing a new hotel. At first impression, you might think that everything is in order, just another hotel among many.
2008-03-24Give “Imedi” (hope) back To People
Kakheti based journalists protested against the government when it illegally took control over the TV Company “Imedi” and demanded to give it back to its real owners and resume regular broadcasting. Representatives of the local NGOs also joined forces with them. The demonstrators prepared an appeal to the international organizations where they protested the restriction of the freedom of expression and the restriction of journalists in Georgia.
2008-03-24“Georgian Government Controls Six TV Stations”
“Are you from Security Department?”… is a rhetorical question that members of the various opposition parties are now asking to the journalists from Georgian TV Stations. Journalists are often blamed for protecting the interests of the government and being biased, using media as a cover to collect information and push not-too-hidden agendas. This begs the question as to why members of the opposition raise issues that perhaps those working for TV Companies are being supervised from the governmental structures? Who is the real supervisor of Georgia based TV Stations? And more generally, does Georgia have impartial TV Companies or not?
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