The Public Defender meets Zemo Ajara Residents
The Public Defender visited villages of Khulo and Khelvachauri municipalities of Zemo Ajara and received information on problems of the residents. Majority of those living in Zemo Ajara demand prompt adoption of the Mountainous Law that, in the words of the locals, will significantly improve their situation. Underdeveloped infrastructure, unemployment, poverty and the high level of migration require urgent response from the authorities.
The residents have concrete complaints with regards to a company constructing power plants in Ajara. According to the locals, labour safety is complied with; wages are not equal while interests of the local residents are not considered in the process of the construction.
The Public Defender expressed dissatisfaction that the population do not have information on damaging effect of the power plant construction on the environment; also, details of the agreement signed between the private company and the state are unknown.
For years, due to the inadequate conduction of the land reform, the issue of registration of land as one’s property is especially acute in Ajara region. With this respect, the problem of the village of Kirnati that is situated near the border needs to be mentioned. At the same time, at one side, land-related documentations are incomplete and drawn up with shortcomings, while on the other hand, some part of household and agricultural land plots are in the border strip. Therefore, the residents’ right to register property is limited. As the case concerns the settlement in the border strip, the village of Kirnati requires special approach and attention from the state.
The issue of migrants, who to this time do not have adequate living conditions, still remains as a serious challenge. There is no comprehensive information database in the entire Ajara region where persons affected by natural disasters will be registered. According to a recommendation of the Public Defender, compiling/renewing database and elaboration of a joint strategy for resolution of eco-migrants’ problems is necessary.
At the meeting of Public Defender Ucha Nanuashili with Khulo District Governor Besik Buachdze the ombudsman generally spoke about the situation in Zemo Ajara.
After thorough examination of the Ajara issue the Public Defender’s Office of Georgia will prepare special recommendations for relevant bodies; as well as, individual complaints that were identified during a meeting between the Public Defender and the residents.