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NGOs Protest Illegal Construction in Zugdidi Botanic Garden

16.05.2012

Tamta Beliashvili

On May 15, nongovernmental organizations protested and held briefing in front of the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection.

Georgian nongovernmental organizations - Center for Ecological Law, Human Rights Center, Green Movement-Earth Friends, Green Alternative, Human Rights Defense League, EkoTek, Foundation for Energetic Efficiency, Georgian Young Greens – protested the construction launched in Zugdidi Botanic Garden.

According to the information of the NGOs, Company “Anaklia-Ganmukhuri Resort Ltd” ordered the construction in the area. Company Sani is carrying out construction activities. The project aims to construct one-kilometer long bicycle route in the garden. The Sani Representatives said the construction might reach the central part of the garden due to lack of space. The protest organizers state it might destroy the Zugdidi Botanic Garden.

The protesters stated the construction in Zugdidi Botanic Garden started on May 5. The garden is older than one century and it has status of culture monument. Any sort of construction in the territory of the Botanic Garden shall be agreed with the National Agency for Cultural Heritage that was not done in this particular case and it became ground of their protest.

Chairman of the Ecological Law Center Nikoloz Mzhavanadze said the launch of construction in Zugdidi Botanic Garden without agreeing it with corresponding institutions is criminal offence and environmentalists demand punishment of the people who decided to construct bicycle route there and implement illegal constructions now. “We have petitioned to the Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection, to the prosecutor’s office and requested to respond to this violation. The Ministry of Culture must not be a functionless institution and shall not allow similar illegality,” Nikoloz Mzhavanadze told humanrights.ge

NGO EkoTek representative professor Temur Vekua said the unique botanic garden created by the Dadians, which is a pearl of Samegrelo region, cannot be destroyed as a result of primitive and unidentified construction.

Human Rights Center also protested the launched construction in the Zugdidi Botanic Garden and signed the petition. The Center believes the construction of the bicycle route is not problem of local environment protection; it is blatant violation of human rights that has acquired systemic character recently.

“It is not first fact when gardens, squares and plants in general is destroyed in the name of renovation of Georgia. Plants and greenery were already destroyed in several squares and gardens in Tbilisi to construct police offices in the area. They violate the rights of Georgian citizens when recreation zones, particularly the Botanic Garden with the status of historical and cultural monument, are destroyed,” the participant of the protest assembly from the Human Rights Center Aleko Tskitishvili said.

Nikoloz Mzhavanadze said if their petition is not responded, they will continue protection of environment and human rights with radical methods.

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