Public Defender met with Members of the Governmental Commission Working on the Needs of Conflict Affected Population along the Dividing Line

On April 3, 2015, in a joint initiative, the Public Defender, non-governmental organizations SaferWorld and Gori Information Centre organized a working meeting with members of the Interim Governmental Commission on the Needs of Villages Located along the Dividing Line. The working meeting was also attended by representatives of 20 communities adjacent to the dividing line and members of the Ossetian Forum of the Public Defender.

The meeting was opened by the Public Defender, Ucha Nanuashvili, who emphasized issues of land registration, rehabilitation of houses damaged during the war, problems with the drinking water, access to State Health Insurance Programme and local infrastructural issues. At the meeting, the Public Defender also presented special reports on human rights in conflict affected regions that were prepared last year.

“During the monitoring of the situation in communities along the dividing line, we identified various socio-economic problems due to which migration levels from these villages are high. Fundamental rights that are infringed upon include the right to health, right to property, right to adequate housing, etc. We have prepared several special reports with regards to rights of the conflict-affected population, including the report on the village of Zardiaantkari in Gori Municipality. As you know, the residents of Zardiaantkari found shelter in the kindergarten building in Gori Town in the period of 2008-2012 when their village was occupies. Nevertheless, they received neither IDP status nor state compensation during this period. And, although in 2012, the authorities restored the control over the village, the residents are still unable to return to their houses, because vast majority of them are damaged and dangerous to live in. Also, the Parliamentary Report of the Public Defender for 2014 reviewed difficulties related to the land registration and ownership. I believe that this problem cannot be resolved without decisive actions of the state agencies,” – said Ucha Nanuashvili in his speech.

The members of the commission provided information on the work they had conducted. According to the representative of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure of Georgia Otar Konjaria, infrastructural works on gas supply system are under way and it will be possible to provide natural gas to the residents in the near future. He also underlined, that the state is implementing a rehabilitation works of drinking and irrigation water systems.

Another contentious issue discussed at the meeting was the funding of higher education. According to the secretary of the commission, for the academic year of 2014-2015 financial support will be provided to over 500 students living on the dividing line. The representative of the Ministry of Regional Development and Infrastructure also presented information on projects already supported or planned by donor organizations.

The meeting aimed at promoting the communication between the population living on the dividing line, government bodies and other relevant stakeholders. Representatives of the local communities had an opportunity to receive information from government agencies on issues that were of interest to them. Similar meetings will be held in future as well.

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