Land, Education, Religion

Kvemo Kartli Unfairness

Azerbaijani villages of the Kvemo Kartli region became the aim of the first journalistic expedition that took place at the height of the harvesting season, in October. Eight journalists from the nation-wide newspapers, radio and television channels and the ninth participant – the editor-in-chief of the Samtskhe-Javakheti region newspaper “The Southern gate” – spent two days in meetings with the representatives of Azerbaijani NGO, local journalists and residents.

They were trying to look into what is going on in the region, what problems and hopes are typical for the Azerbaijani community which is the second largest in the country and by far the largest in the region.  Certain alarming signs manifested themselves. These included the ethnic Azeri population’s low level of awareness of social and political developments in Georgia and their low integration in these developments and lack of trust towards the state among the population in general. The unfair land distribution was declared a problem number one.

  • “During the seventy years of the Soviet rule the mosque didn’t perform its functions; it was used as a warehouse. Last year we decided to restore and extend our mosque”, the initiator of the restoration, Valida Khalilova said.

Azeri residents and NGO representatives talked about their displeasure with the personnel policies in local and national-wide state offices. They provided examples of religious discrimination, and journalists were able to monitor themselves the scandalous situation around the Mosque in Azeri-populated village Talaveri, called by locals by its ancient name Fakhrali. Unfair attitude towards Azeri children in schools and extremely poor level of education in the region were other themes of the discussions, as well as high level of unemployment, most acutely manifesting itself amongst the youth.

All this is compounded by the unfavourable social and political situation, widespread poverty and the deterioration of social infrastructure throughout Georgia. All the above factors are providing fertile soil for conflict, and may cause a more serious tension if other, political or economic, problems aggravate. Because of this, there is a need for the authorities to urgently address the problems in the region and take decisive steps. The international community and Georgian NGOs also need to make more effort.

Number of extended reports in several media outlets has become the result of the mission. The links to all the reports are located on the right side of this page. We are pleased to note that one of the mission participants, Malkhaz Chkadua, became the winner of Tolerance and Diversity contest, organised by the Ombudsman of Georgia. His article ‘Georgian Azerbaijan’ took the third place in the contest.

GO Group Media pays the special thanks to Marneuli based NGO ‘Tolerance’ for the invaluable help in organising this journalistic mission.

Mission participants:

Khatuna Katsitadze, Caucasus Internet Media Group
Dadu Dvali, Caucasus Internet Media Group
Maia Tsiklauri, Liberali magazine
Malkhaz Chkadua, Interpressnews agency
David Kanchashvili,
Irina Kvanchakhadze, GIPA radio
Nino Narimanishvili, Samkhretis Karibche newspaper
Maia Shamanauri, GIPA radio
Levan Akhalaia, Green Wave radio

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