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The News in Brief

Wednesday, March 4
By The Messenger staff

Public Defender Responds to Protests Launched by Residents of Shukruti Village of Chiatura Municipality

Residents of the village of Shukruti in Chiatura municipality have been blocking the Shukruti mine in protest since February 17, 2020. In a conversation with the Public Defender's representative, locals said that the 24-hour mining activity at the Georgian Manganese LLC significantly damages the environment, their houses and auxiliary facilities. In the village, where 280 families live, almost all the houses are damaged. Foundations, walls and floors are cracked. Several houses were completely ruined. Plots of agricultural land collapsed at several places and graves are now endangered.

In addition, the population says that as a result of the company's activities, the environment was polluted, part of the forest was cut down; natural springs and wells went dry; the soil became barren; vine and other perennials died out. They believe that the company irrationally uses natural resources. The current and expected damage endangers the property and healthy environment of the local population.

Residents of the village protested several times last year too, but in vain, as verbal agreements reached with the company have been repeatedly violated. This time, the population is not going to stop protesting until the loss suffered by the village is not fully assessed and all the families are not fully compensated for their damaged property (houses, auxiliary buildings, plants, etc.).

The Public Defender of Georgia calls on the relevant agencies to use all the resources to identify the causes of damage and to conduct result-oriented negotiations with the company.

The Public Defender also calls on the Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development to mediate and personally engage in the negotiations between the Shukruti population and the company to protect the locals’ rights to property and a healthy environment.

The Public Defender will continue examining the case.

The Legal Issues Committee approved the application of the e-oversight in cases of violence against women and domestic violence

The Committee discussed with the I reading the bill on Elimination of Violence against Women and/or Domestic Violence, Protection and Aid of the Victims introduced by the Director of the MIA Legal Department, Alexander Darakhvelidze.

The bill establishes the effective e-oversight mechanism on the offenders. “If the restraining order is issued to a certain person, the approximation control will be ensured in an electronic form. During this mechanism, the risks will be preliminarily estimated and the mechanism will be applied only in the event of the risk of repeated violence. The decision on application of the e-oversight mechanism is made by the Court based on the police petition and the decision will be enforced only if the victim gives consent. The e-oversight is ensured with the term of the restraining order not exceeding 1 month”, - he noted.

The bill specifies the terms and extends the term of the order – 9 months instead of 6. The Committee approved the bill with the reservation that the consultations with the respective agencies will continue.

The Committee discussed with the I reading the bill on Aquaculture. As the reporter, the Chair of the Environmental Protection and Natural Resources Committee, Nino Tsilosani stated, the bill creates the legal and administrative frame and all persons concerned will enjoy the “one-stop service” principle to obtain the permit on aquaculture. “The permit will require the minimal fee and the people in this sphere will be exempted from the fee till 2024 to further encourage their activity. At that, the current aquaculture entrepreneurs will have the 2-year term to register their activity”, - the reporter noted.

The Advisory Council shall be set up in the Ministry composed of the members of the Ministry, as well as the academic circles to define the factors of aquaculture activity. “The bill allows the state, through the grants raised from the EU and other organizations, issuing the economic encouragement programs also in agricultural sphere. One of the important factors also is that the law envisages the local cooperatives to prevail upon the use of the natural resources which will facilitate increase of their incomes”.

The bill is initiated by MPs: Nino Tsilosani, Kakha Kuchava, Sulkhan Makhatadze, Otar Danelia, Endzela Machavariani, Giorgi Gachechiladze, Koba Lursmanashvili, Zaza Khutsishvili and Paata Gogokhia.

The Committee approved the bill and discussed with the II reading the bill on Registration of the Georgian Citizens and Foreign Citizens Residing Abroad, Issue of the IDs (Residence Permits) and Georgian Passports, envisaging enclosure of the application on the loss of the passport with the document certified by the law-enforcement or another competent body. “Within visa liberalization, we would like the bill to ensure better mechanisms to facilitate protection of the space from unfair use. In this case, we mean obtainment of the new passport by the person already holding a passport and maximal prevention of holding two passports”, - the first Deputy Justice Minister, Mikheil Sarjveladze noted.

The Committee approved the bill and discussed with the I reading the bill on Highways, supplemented with the new Article on identification of the black dots and elimination, as well as explaining the term “black dots” implying the 300-m section at maximum of the highway, entailing: a) at least four fatal accidents; and/or b) at least 10 accidents with badly injuries during 3 calendar years. The Committee approved the bill.