Public Defender Responds to Protests of Population of Shukruti Village in Chiatura Municipality
From the very first days, the Public Defender has been monitoring the events developing in the village of Shukruti, Chiatura municipality, where locals demand fair compensation for the property damaged by the ore mining works carried out by the Georgian Manganese Ltd. The affected citizens also demand the involvement of the State in the process.
The rallies have been going on for 105 days, while for more than 20 days some of the protesters have resorted to an extreme form of protest – sewed their lips and went on hunger strike.
For the purpose of studying the issue, representatives of the Public Defender met with the protesters on the ground and listened to their demands. We also have constant contact with the rally organizers.
For the purpose of discussing the protesters’ demands with representatives of the company, on May 31, 2021, Public Defender’s representatives had communication with a representative of the Georgian Manganese, who said that the company assessed the property of the affected residents of Shukruti on the basis of the market prices. In addition, according to him, the compensation does not mean deprivation of the right to own and use the property. According to the company representative, contracts are signed with the population in stages, taking into account the degree of damage.
It should be noted that in addition to the fact that the protesters distrust the evaluations made by the company and demand that the amount of compensation be determined by the Levan Samkharauli Forensics Bureau, the methodology of property valuation is also disputed between the parties. (As we have learned, the special manager of the company publicly stated that the company was ready to apply to the Levan Samkharauli Forensics Bureau to evaluate the amount of losses). In addition, the population demands that the obligation and terms of paying the compensation by the company be specified in the relevant contract.
Given the difficult situation, the Public Defender of Georgia calls on the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development to engage in the negotiations between the Shukruti population and the company as a mediator in order to to protect the citizens' property rights and allow them to live in a healthy environment.
The Public Defender continues to study the case in the context of the right to live in a healthy environment, as well as the alleged pressure exerted on one of the protetsers.