The Georgian government has an ambitious plan to construct a road connecting the mountainous regions of northeast Georgia, from Khevsureti to Tusheti. It’s stated goal — to develop tourism and help locals travel between difficult-to-reach areas. But many, both locals and others, are against the project. They say it will wreck the environment, damaging the region’s unique natural appeal, and taking with it their hopes of developing ecotourism.
Dozens gathered in the village of Chuberi in Georgia’s historic Svaneti region on Saturday to once again protest against the construction of the Nenskra dam. Protesters say the 130-metre high dam poses a threat to the people, culture, and environment of Svaneti, and vowed to prevent construction from going ahead. [Read more…]
A sugar factory in Agara, a town west of Tbilisi, is set to reopen after dozens of workers marched 110 kilometres to Tbilisi in protest its closure. An agreement to renovate the factory and reopen it on 1 June was announced on Wednesday, several days after the march. [Read more…]
An Azerbaijani court rejected an appeal by abducted journalist Afgan Mukhtarli on Wednesday, upholding his 6-year prison sentence. The day before the hearing, one of his lawyers had his license suspended for ‘politicising the case’. [Read more…]
An initiative group of Georgian Muslims in Batumi has rejected an offer from Mayor Lasha Komakhidze for a building permit for a second mosque in the city. Komakhidze said in a meeting on 3 April that if land bought by the group for the mosque was transferred to the state sponsored Administration of All Muslims of Georgia, and if they withdrew a court appeal over previous building permit rejections, a permit would be issued.
Several dozen workers from a sugar factory in the town of Agara, west of Tbilisi, have marched 110 kilometres to the capital and are demonstrating outside the Government Chancellery building. The factory suspended operations in November after the company claimed their sugar was no longer competitive amidst growing imports from Europe. [Read more…]
The future of the drug decriminalisation bill being considered by Georgia’s parliament has become even more uncertain, after the Interagency Council Against Drug Use, an official advisory body set up in 2011, discussed an alternative, ‘gradual decriminalisation’ initiative. Drug policy activists denounced the initiative, as it would not abolish Article 273 of the Criminal Code, which criminalises the use or possession of drugs in small quantities.
A group of coal miners from Tkibuli have demanded that Saknakhshiri GIG, the company that owns the mines, temporarily shut down operations in order to improve safety conditions. [Read more…]
Leaders from the ruling Georgian Dream party have criticised American rights watchdog Freedom House, for suggesting democracy declined in the country in 2017. ‘Absurd, unobjective and amusing’ were some of the words PM Giorgi Kvirikashvili and Parliament chairman Irakli Kobakhidze used to describe their 2018 Nations in Transit report, which said informal governance was ‘one of the key features of GD’s rule’. [Read more…]
Democracy declines in the Caucasus with ‘half-hearted reforms’ in Georgia, improper investigation of high-level corruption in Armenia, ‘deeply entrenched’ authoritarianism in Azerbaijan, and a crackdown on queer people in the North Caucasus, according to American right group Freedom House’s Nations in Transit 2018 report. [Read more…]