Georgia on its way to less punitive, more human drug policy?

by | June 13, 2018

Two commissioners visiting Tbilisi urge the government of Georgia to go ahead with bold reform of drug policies, insisting that ending punishment does not mean encouraging or condoning the use of drugs, but rather it empowers individuals and communities


Smoking ban comes into effect in Georgia

by | May 1, 2018

TBILISI, DFWatch--A blanket ban on smoking indoors came into power in Georgia on Tuesday. People caught smoking on public transport now risk a fine of 50 lari (20 USD) or twice as much for repeated violations. Smoking is now banned inside all kinds of buildings,


Selective abortions still rife in Georgia’s ethnic Azerbaijani community

by | February 2, 2018

People still actively request to determine the gender of the future child in advance during first trimester of the pregnancy in the municipalities inhabited by ethnic Azerbaijani people. 31-years-old Sakina Alieva from Marneuli has 5-years-old boy. Before having the boy she got two abortions because she was expecting girls.


How cousin marriages affect Georgia’s ethnic Azerbaijani population

by | January 30, 2018

“My elder daughter has thalassemia. When doctors diagnosed her, we learned that it is a genetic disease and mostly it happens with children when they are born as a result of cousin-marriages. I'm married with my cousin. If I were aware of the risk, I would not have married him;


More ethnic Azeris are on the move from Georgia than ever before  

by | January 21, 2018

Georgia is the most ethnically diverse state in the South Caucasus, with Azeri ethnic minorities constituting 6.3% of its population. They are present especially in the border province of Kvemo-Kartli, the region where unemployment and poverty that has spread over, pushing many ethnic Azeris to leave their place of origin.   


Georgia to ban unhealthy food in its public schools

by | August 12, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia plans to ban unhealthy food in public schools, particularly sugary beverages and salty products, in an effort to promote healthier lifestyle among school children. “When children come to school in September they will see a different buffet,” Alexandre Jejelava,


Dropping a cigarette butt in Tbilisi now costs you USD 33

by | April 21, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Littering in the Georgian capital may now cost you a fine of 80 laris (USD 33). This includes dropping cigarette butts. 14 people were fined as the new regulation began being enforced on Thursday. 13 of them were fined for dropping cigarette butts in the streets.


Georgia bans smoking indoors and at sports arenas

by | April 5, 2017

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will introduce a blanket ban on smoking indoors, after parliament approved a bill proposed in February. The ban covers smoking in buildings and includes a tough package of fines to ensure that it is followed, prescribing fines of up to 5,000 lari (over USD 2,000).


75% of murdered women were stalked for a year: Report

by | December 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--75% of women who are murdered in Georgia were stalked by the murderer for 12 months prior to their death, according to a new report. This shocking statistic appears in a new report by the feminist group Safari, which urges the government to use its new


UNICEF survey: Children are still the most vulnerable group in Georgia

by | November 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new study presented on Monday shows that every fifth child in Georgia is living in poverty. The findings in the welfare monitoring study, a household survey published every two years by United Nations Children's Fund’s (UNICEF), emphasized


Georgia’s ombudsman calls on government to end female circumcision

by | November 13, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Public Defender confirms that female genital mutilation (FGM) is being practiced in the eastern Kakheti region, a practice locals call ‘baptizing’. Georgians learned last week that FGM is being practiced in three villages in Kvareli


One of Tbilisi’s oldest streets reopens after facelift

by | September 26, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The pedestrian zone of Aghmashenebeli Avenue in Tbilisi opened on Sunday after several months of renovation work. The facelift of one of the oldest streets in the Georgian capital was financed by the local government and Tbilisi Development Foundation. Tbilisi City Hall decided to refurbish


Georgia is in 54th place on index of human well-being

by | July 5, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--An index that measures how well countries provide for basic human needs lists Georgia in 54th place, far behind most European countries. The most socially progressed country among 133 countries surveyed is Finland, according to the 2016 Social Progress Index.


Unemployment declined by slight 0.4%: Geostat

by | May 27, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Annual unemployment rate in Georgia declined by 0.4 percent in 2015 compared to the previous year, according to the new report published by The National Statistics Office of Georgia (GeoStat).

News, Society

WHO: Georgia at high risk of Zika virus outbreak

by | May 19, 2016

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Georgia’s Black Sea coast is among the European regions which are at the highest risk of a Zika virus outbreak during late spring and summer, a statement made by the World Health Organisation (WHO) reads.

Minorities, Society

17 May marked with rallies, guerrilla tactics, arrests, and prayers [updated]

by | May 17, 2016

The International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) marked internationally on 17 May once again sheds light on existing tensions between the LGBTQI community, the authorities, and the Church. Activists arrested for vandalism Levan Berianidze, the executive director of LGBT Georgia posted information around 5 a.m. saying that a group of activists were detained for making stencils by the police. ‘As I have been informed the police was violent and brutal — activists were physically attacked, dragged along on ground and the police vocabulary was extremely aggressive!’ Mr Berianidze wrote. Ten activists were detained. According to the information provided by the Ministry of Internal Affairs, seven of them were detained by undercover police for attempting to apply a stencil saying ‘All love is equal’ on the wall belonging to the Patriarchate of the Georgian Orthodox Church. Three activists who were detained for painting a zebra crossing in rainbow colours were already released. The other seven are awaiting trial. Stencils, which were in rainbow colours, have been covered by the paint soon after the activists were detained. A small group of feminist and LGBTQI activists rallied in front of ...

Minorities, Society

Ombudsman call on public agencies ‘to do their best’ to prevent hate-motivated violence

by | May 17, 2016

The Public Defender of Georgia released a statement on International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT), May 17, in which he deplores that “no effective measures have been taken for raising public awareness or establishing the culture of tolerance in the country.” “A timely, efficient and accountable investigation of hate crimes is still a problem. Three years have passed, however, nobody has been held responsible for the criminal acts committed on 17 May, 2013,” the statement reads. Ucha Nanuashvili, the Public Defender, states his pity to the fact that LGBTI rights activists have no opportunity to celebrate IDAHOT in the open air “due to lack of safeguards to be protected from possible threats of violence, they refrain from a public appearance. It is worrying that homophobic attitudes in the society threaten realization of a constitutional right.” “Given all the above, I call on the public agencies to do their best to prevent hate-motivated violence and manifestation of homophobic actions, as well as to promote unconditional implementation of constitutionally guaranteed rights and freedoms of LGBT persons. “Public Defender’s authorized representatives will be observing developments in ...

News, Society

Georgian feminists rally against the conservative Christian conference

by | May 16, 2016

A small group of Georgian feminist activists organised a protest in front of Radisson Blu Hotel in downtown Tbilisi, where the World Congress of Families (WFC) was taking place on Sunday.


42 people died in the workplace in Georgia last year

by | May 2, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--42 people died at work in 2015, while 82 people were injured, the public defender informed on May 1, the International Worker’s Day. According to his statement, in 108 cases, a criminal investigation was launched, but it was halted in 42 of the cases.


Georgia’s frozen conflict hampers Easter celebration in border villages

by | April 24, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--The frozen conflict over South Ossetia will prevent many people in the border areas from visiting their family graves this Easter. As the observance of Orthodox Easter starts today with Palm Sunday, many will be unable to go to cemeteries

News, Society

Man arrested in Tbilisi for slitting wife’s throat

by | April 15, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--A man was arrested a Tbilisi suburb Wednesday, suspected of slitting his wife’s throat with a knife. According to the Ministry of Internal Affairs, an investigation has been launched under article 108 of the Criminal Code about premeditated murder.


U.S. Department of State releases new report on Georgia’s human rights record

by | April 14, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--American Country Reports on Human Rights Practices points out shortcoming in Georgia’s democratic development, independence of the judiciary, minority rights protection, political persecution, and restrictions in media freedom.

News, Society

Feminists protest against abortion ban outside Poland’s embassy in Tbilisi

by | April 8, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Nearly 20 people gathered Friday outside the Polish embassy in Tbilisi to show solidarity with Polish women trying to stop a proposed ban on abortion in their country. The gathering was organized by Independent Group of Feminists


The story of Azerbaijani journalist fleeing her country

by | April 6, 2016

By Delilah Damanova TBILISI, DFWatch--Last week European House hosted another meeting of the Thinking Citizen Center, an alternative education initiative for Georgia’s ethnic Azerbaijanis. The Center’s vision is the intellectual and cultural transformation of ethnic

News, Society

Down Syndrome Day marked in Tbilisi

by | March 21, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia marked International Down syndrome Day on March 21 with a march that started in Vake Park and ended at Tbilisi State University. This year’s main message worldwide and in Georgia was about friendship and socialization of people with Down’s syndrome.


Report from the miners’ strike in Tkibuli

by | February 27, 2016

TKIBULI, DFWatch--More than two weeks have passed since coal miners in Tkibuli in western Georgia began standing watch day and night in front of the company’s office, demanding higher salaries. So far, without results. Their demand is to increase their salaries


No solution in Tkibuli miners’ strike, government to send mediators

by | February 25, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--For more than ten days, miners have been on strike in Tkibuli, a town in western Georgia, demanding increased pay to compensate for their community’s loss of favorable tax conditions. The Ministry of Labor and Health


Health minister offers hospital own car to deal with swine flu

by | January 22, 2016

TBILISI, DFWatch--3,800 people in Tbilisi called the emergency number 112 only on Thursday as fear spread about the swine flu outbreak which has infected 9,000 people so far. Three people have died after being infected with the H1N1 virus that causes swine flu.


School children held performance to show what early marriage means

by | November 26, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--School children appeared outside the government office on Wednesday, enacting scenes where they were forced to abandon their dreams in order to become a wife and mother. The street performance was staged by the Georgian Women’s


Debate on the need of pro-social labour reforms

by | November 26, 2015

Tbilisi, DFWatch - Debate between the representatives of the government and different interest groups intensifies as pro-social labour market reforms are being implemented. On 25 November, the Friedrich Ebert Foundation Georgia hosted the


Tbilisoba – a celebration of the Georgian capital

by | October 20, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The street fair Tbilisoba was this year mostly concentrated in Rike Park and the old part of the capital. Tbilisoba has been celebrated in the second half of October every year since 1979. It usually includes squeezing grapes in massive


Georgia has highest proportion of undernourished in South Caucasus

by | October 12, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia has the highest proportion of undernourished among South Caucasus countries, according to a new report. From 2014 to 2016, the level of undernourished is estimated to be 7.4 percent. This is higher than both Armenia (5.8 percent) and

News, Society

Thousands of Georgians despair as Greece halts money transfers

by | June 30, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The crisis in Greece has also hit hard for as many as 200,000 Georgians who are living and working in the country, and their families back home in Georgia. Money transfers are currently halted, as well as trailer transport. The crisis in Greece


Tbilisians call for urban development plan to save city’s old districts

by | June 7, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisians demonstrated Saturday against several construction projects which in their opinion will damage the authenticity of the city, especially in the old districts. The list of protest issues included destroying the city’s green cover, and destroying

News, Society

UN agency finds Georgian couples prefer to have boys

by | May 6, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--46 percent of Georgian families would like to have a son instead of a daughter. Nine percent have the opposite preference, while women with partners or husbands admit they have had an abortion because of the sex of child. These are some


Woman forced out of her job because she took maternity leave

by | April 23, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--It is illegal to fire anyone on maternity or paternity leave. It is also illegal to harass someone into quitting their job. But it is not uncommon for a woman to come back to work after a maternity leave, and realise that the employer will do anything


“He will walk free, because he didn’t kill me”

by | April 21, 2015

“When a man beats a woman for the hundredth time, something happens to him. He starts jonesing for it,” says Lali, who has fled Abkhazia to hide from her abusive husband. I met Lali (her name has been changed) in a shelter for victims of domestic violence.


Tbilisians rallied against terrorism

by | April 20, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--A protest against terrorism was held on Sunday in Tbilisi and several other towns in Georgia to show support for the refugees persecuted by Islamic State.   A call went out on Facebook a few days in advance for people to meet outside the old parliament


Tbilisi celebrates Orthodox Easter

by | April 13, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Easter was celebrated in Tbilisi as usual this year, despite bad weather. People visit the graves of their relatives on the first or second day of Easter. Christianity was declared state religion in Georgia in 4th century and as the eastern


Georgia to allow teenagers to test for HIV without parents knowing

by | March 19, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia is to allow teenagers between 14 and 18 years to test themselves for HIV without permission from their parents or guardian. This is an initiative by the health committee in parliament, which will amend the law on patient rights.


Georgia wants to give locals preferential treatment in labor market

by | February 4, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian government is preparing to impose a protectionist labor migration law, under which local employees only will be allowed to hire a foreigner if they cannot find a local who satisfies their requirements. The draft law on Labor


Trade union blames weak worker protection for deaths in the workplace

by | January 27, 2015

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Trade Union blames a weak labor code for what it says is a rise in the number of deaths in the workplace since the Saakashvili regime took away almost all worker protection in 2006. During Saakashvili, the labor code was changed so there


Campaign launched in Georgia against domestic violence

by | November 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--There were demonstrations in 22 cities and towns all over Georgia on Tuesday to highlight the problem of violence against women. 24 women have been killed this year in Georgia, and there are many reports of family conflicts, when women


Martyrs remembered in Tbilisi

by | November 14, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Orthodox Church on Thursday remembered the 100,000 martyrs by walking through the streets of Tbilisi for hours and conducting a prayer on Metekhi Bridge. The church marks this day the same way every year. According to historical sources,


Prisoners’ handicraft exhibition dedicated to violence against women

by | November 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Handicraft made by prisoners went on sale at an exhibition at Radisson Blu Iveria hotel in Tbilisi on Friday dedicated to the International Day for Elimination of Violence against Women. The works at the exhibition ‘Creation Work for Dignity’ were made by


First lady and ministers perform in ‘Women wounded to death’

by | October 29, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s first lady and several government ministers took part in a theater performance on Tuesday dedicated to women who have been victims of violence. The title of the performance, held at Marjanishvili Theater, was ‘Women wounded to death’


Tbilisoba kicks off Saturday

by | October 25, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--This weekend marks the first Tbilisoba - the annual celebration of Georgia’s capital - under the new local government. A new mayor and new members of the City Council were elected in June. The list of events planned on Saturday and Sunday is quite

Minorities, Society, Youth

Deadly ‘bridenapping’ in Kakheti

by | October 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--When a young man was murdered last weekend in Kazlar, an Azeri village 40km east of Tbilisi, it could have been one among many stories of violence and homicides in rural Georgia, but the circumstances of this case makes it stand out. 21 year


Georgian government wants tougher sentence for illegal abortion

by | July 30, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia wants tougher punishment for carrying out illegal abortions. Dimitry Khundadze, head of the health care committee in parliament from the government coalition, presented a draft bill on Tuesday which will amendments


Bus drivers in Georgia protest against rough work conditions

by | July 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Bus drivers demonstrated in many Georgian towns on Tuesday, as a response to one of their colleagues who died on the job in Tbilisi following a fight with a passenger. At 14:00, drivers stopped their bus or minibus and let the vehicle’s horn cry


One man dies in accident at Zestaponi metal plant

by | June 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A 50-year old man died last Tuesday night at the ferroalloy plant in Zestaponi as he was hit by a high voltage electric shock. Mamuka Nebieridze died on the spot in the June 3 accident. An investigation has been launched in order to determine whether


Waiting to get away from Metalurg Sanatorium

by | May 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--For more than 20 years, Eter, 74, has been living in Metalurg Sanatorium in Tskaltubo, a town in western Georgia. Apart from her, there are 60 families there; all refugees from the breakaway region Abkhazia. After Eter’s husband passed away, she


Tserovani – the village of refugees from 2008 war

by | May 21, 2014

TSEROVANI, DFWatch-- Tserovani is a settlement of refugees from the breakaway region South Ossetia. People settled here in small cottages after the Russia-Georgia war in August 2008. More than 2,000 cottages were built in Tserovani after the war, housing many


Youth take the lead in marking Worker’s Day in Georgia

by | May 2, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, the younger generation took charge in organizing demonstrations on the International Worker’s Day yesterday. Young Social-Democrats, Georgia’s Young Greens, Georgia’s Youth Trade Union Organization, Young Socialists and other groups


One dies in manganese plant in Chiatura, Georgia

by | March 23, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--A mine worker died Thursday in a metal ore processing plant in Chiatura, a town in western Georgia. Another worker was injured and brought to the hospital. The plant was being dismantled by workers in the Darkveti mine on orders of the mine's owner,


UNDP plans aid projects for USD 15 million in Abkhazia

by | March 13, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The United Nations is ready to finance projects in Abkhazia with USD 15 million this year. Resident Coordinator for the UN Development Program in Georgia, Niels Scott, told this to de facto President Aleksandre Ankvab, according to Apsnypress.


Hundreds from a Georgian mining village demonstrated in Tbilisi

by | March 8, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Several hundreds people from the village Kazreti in southern Georgia demonstrated in front of the government office in Tbilisi on Friday. They demand that the government mediates between the workers and the company that owns the mines in their


37% of children in Georgia are below the poverty line

by | March 5, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--37 percent of children in Georgia live below the poverty line, according to a new report by UNICEF. Child poverty increased 2 percent in 2013, compared to 2011. Georgia has the second highest rate of inequality in Europe, the organization writes.


Why is a whole village in Georgia on strike?

by | March 1, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--For about two weeks, the entire Kazreti village has been on strike. People have joined the strike among workers in the gold mines. Eight people are on hunger strike. The workers want increased salaries, improved working conditions and insurance, and


Mine workers on strike in Chiatura describe unfair conditions

by | February 26, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The mine workers in Chiatura have once more gone on strike. For five days, several hundred have not showed up at work, while others say they are ready to join the strike. After the change of government in 2012, the miners in Chiatura went on strike


Bus drivers on strike in Rustavi, Georgia

by | February 22, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Minibus drivers in Rustavi southeast of Tbilisi are on strike. They are protesting against the competition for transport by City Council and demand to delay for three to five years the competition for inner city and Tbilisi-Rustavi transport.


Protest camp in Tbilisi to prevent new hotel in park

by | February 10, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--For the last two weeks, environment activists have been standing watch day and night in Vake Park in Tbilisi, to prevent the construction of a new hotel. The hotel will be built where an old restaurant called Budapest is located. It has been private property since 1994, but


Georgian government presents bill about citizenship of newborns

by | January 28, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia proposes to automatically give Georgian citizenship to a child who was born through in vitro fertilization if none of the parents's home countries recognize it as its citizen. The Ministry of Justice explains that the new


Two people die in homeless shelters in Georgia

by | January 12, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two people have died during the last two days in shelter tents which were put up in Tbilisi and Gori to help homeless people get through the winter. A woman died January 11 in a tent in Tbilisi. The cause of death is still unknown. The woman was brought


Georgia begins effort to stem hepatitis C epidemic in March

by | January 9, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--From March 1, 2013, medical treatment for hepatitis C will be free for prisoners in Georgia. Other people with the illness will be able to buy medicines for 60 percent lower price. The Health Ministry on Thursday presented its hepatitis C treatment


Mandarin vendors protested in Kobuleti

by | January 6, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Citrus vendors in Georgia protested Sunday in Kobuleti on the Black Sea which against their produce not being taken in by a factory and instead left to rot. The protesters said about 200 trucks are standing there loaded with mandarins, and the vendors


Homeless people sheltered in tents in Tbilisi

by | January 3, 2014

TBILISI, DFWatch--Government has erected 20 tents in a Tbilisi suburb to help homeless people survive the cold winter. The temporary tents are currently used by more than 200 people, including up to ten children. The first four tents were put up December 11 on Moscow


Prisoners in Georgia overcoming isolation by making handicraft

by | December 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--An exhibition of handicraft art made by prisoners at the women’s facility is open for visitors until December 15 at the Europe House in Tbilisi, Freedom Square. More than 250 pictures crafted from felt is on a display, as well as accessories like


UNICEF report exposes weak child protection in Georgia

by | December 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--UNICEF Georgia claims that since 2005, the government has made significant progress in reforming the child care system, but important challenges remain, such as child poverty, violence against children and weak child protection. Currently, there are


‘Dream Town’ residents rally for improved conditions

by | November 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Residents of ‘Dream Town’ - a settlement of homeless families in Adjara - ask the region's authorities to give them shelter. The shantytown residents rallied against the government's decision to give only 15 families shelter, while there are a few


Failed hospital chain returned to public ownership

by | November 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--All the Georgian hospitals which were owned by the Israeli company Aditti have now become government property. Aditti owned hospitals in nine regions of Georgia. Most of them are in a difficult condition and doctors at those hospitals have protested


17 % in Georgian women’s prison have hepatitis C

by | November 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The acting prison minister in Georgia says screening procedures have revealed a very high level of hepatitis C infections in prisons. Sozar Subari said Tuesday at a session with parliamentary committees that the ratio of infected inmates at the


Georgian Church against homeless shelter run by LGBT group

by | November 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Church, the Patriarchate, is against the opening of a shelter for homeless people. The plan has been proposed by the organization Identoba, which protects the rights of LGBT people in Georgia. A private individual donated a building


Gas heaters continue to cause deaths in Georgia

by | November 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In Georgia, natural gas is cheaper than electricity, so more and more people use it for heating in winter. But the safety of the devices is far below any acceptable level. A young married couple and their 4 year old daughter died after a gas leak


Government to cut the price of hepatitis C treatment

by | October 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Health Ministry will start a new program to reduces the price of treatment for hepatitis C . Health Minister Davit Sergeenko said at a press conference Wednesday that treatment for hepatitis C will be free for prisoners and become cheaper for


Gov’t in Georgia plans new retirement saving system

by | October 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The government in Georgia plans to introduce a system for retirement savings that will include every citizen in the country. Giorgi Tabuashvili, Deputy Finance Minister, on Thursday met with the parliamentary opposition to discuss the 2014 budget,


‘Smiling Georgia’ canceled, some elderly left toothless

by | October 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s new government says it will not continue a plan launched by President Saakashvili two years ago called ‘Smiling Georgia’, which involved fixing the teeth of elderly people. Minister of Health Davit Sergeenko said at a press conference


Tbilisoba warmed crowds in bad weather

by | October 7, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Despite chilly weather, the Tbilisoba drew crowds in the old part of the capital last weekend. The Georgian capital's annual festival sported events like tasting traditional Georgian food, taking a ride on a horse and enjoying the sights of old


Muslims detained for protesting dismantling of minaret in Georgia

by | August 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The local municipality in the village Chela in Adigeni in Georgia has started to dismantle the minaret of a mosque, which has caused concern of Muslims. The police was at the site of the minaret from morning and prohibiting local Muslims from


Georgian doctors are fed up: haven’t been paid for six months

by | August 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Doctors demonstrated in six towns in Georgia Saturday, demanding to have their salaries. Their target is the company Aditti, which has bought many of the formerly state-owned hospitals in the country. Doctors have gone without pay for more than six


Eco-refugees living in a town called Dream

by | July 24, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--About 800 single-room barracks are constructed at the former base of the 53rd regiment in Batumi, a beach resort on the Black Sea and one of Georgia’s most popular tourist destinations. The barracks were constructed by families of eco-migrants


Georgia’s privatized health care system is failing

by | July 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Medical personnel at the only hospital in Kharagauli haven’t received salary for the last four months, while the company which owns the management rights to the hospital is not fulfilling its obligations under the contract to rehabilitate the


16 years on, refugees still living in temporary housing

by | July 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Twelve families of refugees are living in the kitchen building of a former hospital in Zugdidi, a town that lies not far from Abkhazia, the breakaway region they fled from. For 16 years, they have been living in the derelict building, waiting to be


Peach vendors in Georgia: Where are our processing plants?

by | July 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The sale of peaches is so slow in Georgia that sellers haven't been able to cover their costs this year. They ask for more processing plants to be built. Nikoloz Gharibashvili, 62, owns peach fields and his income usually comes from selling peaches.


Beer festival in Tbilisi

by | July 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A beer festival was held this weekend on Roses Square in Tbilisi. The festival is organized by Georgian brewery Natakhtari. It has become a tradition and is held for the fourth time this year. Among the beer brands guests could taste were Czech Kozel,


Refugees from Abkhazia are in a difficult situation

by | July 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Valentina Sajaia, 90, has been living in the Likani settlement for the last 20 years with about 120 other families, who were forced to leave their houses in Abkhazia, a breakaway region of Georgia. She has raised four children without her husband


Poll shows little support for LGBT cause in Georgia

by | July 12, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A new opinion poll shows that 79 percent of Georgians do not support the anti-homophobia demonstration on May 17, 2013, which was disrupted by radical Christian clerics and their followers, resulting in almost 30 people being injured. 52 percent think


Government in Georgia increases fines for immoral behavior

by | July 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Interior Ministry demands to have fines for certain violations which are now punished only with undefined sanctions. But some people think the ministry is increasing the size of the fines and are against the initiative. The Ministry of Internal


Muslim leader leaves Kakheti village as conflict continues

by | July 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In a village in east Georgia, a prominent Muslim has left because of the religious conflict that has been developing over the last month. Now Hajji Suliko Khozrevanidze, a leading figure in the Muslim community in Samtatskaro in the Kakheti region,


Batumi Summer Set Festival

by | July 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Organizers of Batumi Summer Set Festival are preparing for the arrival of almost fifty thousand music lovers August 22-24. The program features electronic music and includes acts such as Faithless and Sleep Party People. The Danish duo Laid Back


Muslims afraid to attend Friday prayer in Kakheti village

by | July 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In the village Samtatskharo in eastern Georgia, Friday prayers went ahead without incident yesterday, but the Muslims who live in the village stayed away because of threats. Only Muslims from other areas and guests from the government attended


New stronger labor code comes into force

by | July 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--After eight months of preparations, an amended labor code has come into force after President Saakashvili signed the bill. Deputy Justice Minister Alexander Baramidze says the new labor code entirely meets European standards, which will contribute


Lawmaker wants to ban violence and ‘gay propaganda’ on TV

by | June 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A member of parliament from the Georgian Dream coalition suggests introducing restrictions on TV series and other TV programs which ‘contain propaganda of violence, or homosexual, bisexual and polygamous relations.’ Member of Parliament Koba


Five thousand came to Oasis Music Festival

by | June 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Oasis Music Festival was held this weekend in Mtskheta, not far from the capital, with well-known bands like WhoMadeWho, Mumiy Troll and Motorama. The festival lasted two days and was held at Theatron, an area between the old castle and the River


GeoStat to begin census work July 2014

by | June 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s National Statistics Department will starts the first phase of a population census on July 1, 2014. Minister of Regional Development Davit Narmania said Friday that the first part of the work will be conducted in the regions Adjara,


Parliament questioning whether anti hate crime petition is real

by | June 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The head of the Georgian parliament’s human rights committee has come under fire on social networks, after she instructed her committee to investigate whether 12 000 signatures in a petition are real or fake. The petition is addressed to


Parliament in Georgia considers how to react to May 17 violence

by | June 18, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The human rights committee in parliament is preparing a resolution about the May 17 events, when thousands of Orthodox Christians disrupted a protest by a few tens of LGBT activists. The resolution was a response to an appeal addressed to the speaker


Friday prayer goes ahead in Georgian village after tension

by | June 15, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Friday prayer in Samtatskharo, a village in eastern Georgia, went ahead as normal without interruptions yesterday, after being canceled three weeks in a row due to protests by locals. Minister of Reintegration Paata Zakareishvili showed up


200 locals gathered to prevent Friday prayers

by | June 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Friday prayers were disrupted by locals yesterday in a village in eastern Georgia. About 200 locals had gathered in the village Samtatskharo in the Kakheti region in order to prevent Muslims from praying in a house that has been purchased for this


Thousands came for open air music festival in Tbilisi

by | June 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi Open Air 2013 brought thousands of people to Dinamo Arena on Wednesday. The one-day festival started an hour late, which resulted in the Berlin-group Modeselektor having to leave without playing in order to catch the plane. Georgian band Kid Jesus


Tbilisi preparing for Open Air Festival today

by | June 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi Open Air Festival is getting closer as most of the bands have arrived in Tbilisi. This year’s big surprise, Deep Purple, arrived in Tbilisi on Tuesday. Right before their departure, Altervision Group, which organizes the festival, made


Deep Purple arrives in Tbilisi to play festival gig at Dinamo Arena

by | June 4, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgians are getting ready for the next Tbilisi Open Air musical event, which this time will include world famous stars like Deep Purple, Tricky, Infected Mushrooms and Modeselektor. Tbilisi Open Air Festival, which has been held every year since


Decriminalize marijuana rally in Tbilisi

by | June 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--More than a thousand people gathered in front of the old parliament building in Tbilisi on Sunday to demand the decriminalization of marijuana. Under current legislation it is illegal to use or sell marijuana and other soft drugs. Organizers of the rally


1600 workers in Zestaponi now on strike

by | May 28, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The week-old strike at Zestaponi’s ferro-alloy plant continues, as there is still no progress in the attempts to negotiate with management. Meanwhile representatives of the Georgian Trade Unions claim that parliament is about to adopt amendments


Again the sides meet in Georgia’s most touchy debate

by | May 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Two small counter-rallies were held at the Prosecutor’s Office on Saturday in Tbilisi. The organizers of one rally, ‘The law is supreme’, were the same as those who organized 'No to Theocracy' on Friday. Meanwhile members of the National Front


Georgian Church explains its position on the May 17 events

by | May 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Georgian Orthodox Church separates itself from the violent incidents of May 17, when clerics disrupted LGBT activists from holding a peaceful rally, resulting in 28 injured. Church spokesman Mikael Botkoveli on Wednesday evening said at a briefing


Four arrested for May 17 violence, attacks continuing

by | May 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police have detained four persons suspected of resisting police and petty hooliganism on May 17, when Orthodox Christians held a counter-rally against an attempt at marking the International Day Against Homophobia. There is one minor among


Day after violence, LGBT campaigners call for accountability

by | May 19, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--A peaceful rally to protest Friday’s violent clashes went ahead without serious incidents outside the government office on Saturday. In the afternoon, LGBT activists and their supporters started gathering in front of the government’s office,


Tense ahead of gay rights rally in Tbilisi today

by | May 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Rallies are planned in Tbilisi today to prevent a gathering of activists who want to mark the International Day Against Homophobia. The two organizations Identoba and Women’s Initiative Support Group announced about a month ago that they were


Activists planning to prevent gay rights rally in Tbilisi

by | May 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--An announced gay rights rally is causing outrage among different groups in Georgia who plan to interrupt the rally May 17 and organize parallel rallies against LGBT people in the country. Non-governmental organizations which work with defending


Georgians discuss introducing a ban on abortions

by | May 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Patriarch’s Easter epistle has caused a debate about abortion in Georgia. Ilia II in his recent sermon called on the government to introduce a prohibition on abortion, but the government does not yet plan any changes in this field. The


Georgia to decriminalize use of marihuana

by | May 10, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The ruling Georgian Dream coalition is preparing a bill to decriminalize the use of marihuana. Head of parliament's human rights committee Eka Besealia said the coalition plans to introduce certain measures regarding marihuana, because certain


Five May Day protesters fined

by | May 9, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tbilisi City Court has fined five participants at a May Day rally in Tbilisi with 400 GEL (USD 240). About two dozen other participants are awaiting sentencing in two months. The five were fined for petty hooliganism and for disobeying police orders.


Gay rights activists rally in Tbilisi May 17

by | May 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Human right organizations and gay rights activists plan a flash mob event May 17 outside the old parliament building in Tbilisi. The flash mob will last half hour and the purpose is to mark the International Day Against Homophobia, which is marked in


Georgia celebrates Orthodox Easter

by | May 5, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia’s Orthodox Church celebrated Easter May Day 5, as the parish attended traditional prayers at churches around the country and the Patriarch conducted midnight mass at Sameba Cathedral in Tbilisi. The liturgy started at 11:00 pm Saturday


Surveillance footage shows vandalism at May Day rally

by | May 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police on Thursday published footage from street surveillance cameras which shows how participants in a May Day rally damaged private property by spray painting slogans on city walls and damaging police cars and private cars. The students who


May Day rally turned violent in Tbilisi

by | May 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Police in Georgia Wednesday dispersed a peaceful protest organized by students and youth groups that wanted to mark the International Workers' Day, May 1. About twenty persons, including a journalist, were detained by police and later released.


Armenians demonstrated outside Turkey’s embassy in Georgia

by | April 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Armenian community in Georgia on Wednesday held a rally outside the Turkish embassy in Tbilisi. Their demand was that Turkey must recognize the Armenian genocide in 1915 and commemorate the victims. Representatives of Armenian organizations


Authorities in Georgia explain that ID cards are not sign of Antichrist

by | April 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia's Ministry of Justice has produced a six-minute commercial to explain that a new ID card with a micro chip is not a sign of the Antichrist, as many locals believe. Clerics and part of the parish planned a rally at the Ministry of Justice


Soldiers terrorized village in hunt for non-Christians

by | April 17, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Locals in a village close to the Black Sea shore claim that a group of soldiers late at night verbally and physically abused seven locals based on religious views. The locals say three military police department employees stopped Levan Meskhidze


Georgia to conduct census in November 2014

by | April 6, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Georgia will conduct a population census November 5-19, 2014. An action plan is already ready and preparations for the census will start in 2013. Minister for Regional Development and Infrastructure Davit Narmania and Head of the National


Long overdue Georgia census in the works

by | April 3, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--In 2014, Georgia will conduct its first population census in 25 years. This was decided by the State Coordination Commission on Tuesday. Head of the commission is Prime Minister Bidzina Ivanishvili. The last census was conducted in 1989


Agriculture University gets back authorization

by | March 27, 2013

Tbilisi, DFWatch -  The Agricultural University got its authorization back on March 26, two weeks after it was suspended by the authorization commission. The university is now allowed to carry on with all its 25 accredited programs.


Georgians outraged as one year old boy dies of hunger

by | March 25, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--It has caused strong reactions in Georgia that a one year old child died of hunger late at night on March 22. All over the country people are demonstrating against hunger and poverty. According to the doctors, one year-old Gogita Abashidze died

News, Society

Workers protest in Poti

by | March 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Port and metal workers in Poti went on strike Saturday, demanding to improve their work conditions and have a normal salary. Journalists from the port city report that workers at the Georgian-Indian owned metallurgical plant were on strike the whole


Agriculture students continue studies, protesting

by | March 23, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--While the students at the Agricultural University are waiting to see if their learning institution will get its accreditation back, they are continuing to attend lectures and demonstrating outside the Education Ministry. Chances are good that


Agricultural University’s fate to be decided on Tuesday

by | March 21, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The Education Quality Development Center will March 26 at 18:00 decide whether to reinstate the Agricultural University's accreditation. The center on Wednesday informed that five issues will be on the agenda of Tuesday's session, including the issue


After mass amnesty, some ex-prisoners go back to jail

by | March 20, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Tengiz, a man now in his early sixties, was sentenced to 11 years in jail for burglary in 2007. December 7, 2012, he was pardoned by the president because of a difficult health condition after being recommended by Prison Minister Sozar Subari. Two


Agriculture University will get back its accreditation

by | March 16, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--The students at the Agriculture University continued their protest Friday, and handed Education Minister Giorgi Margvelashvili documents which were meant to show that the institution now complies with the law's requirements. After studying the


Student protest at Agriculture University

by | March 13, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--For the last two days, students at an agricultural college have been at the center of a dispute between the governing Georgian Dream coalition and supporters of President Mikheil Saakashvili. The dispute began with the


Doctors on hunger strike after being fired

by | March 11, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Four emergency service doctors have been on hunger strike since March 6. They are protesting against being fired and demand to replace the local management. The doctors claim that the director of the emergency center illegally fired them and that


200 children in Tbilisi suffered food poisoning

by | February 14, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch--Nearly 200 children were poisoned at Tbilisi kindergartens in November, 2012. According to the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC), the reason was bad quality products. Representatives of the National Food Agency say that sanctions have


Online shopping is catching on in Georgia

by | January 27, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch -- There is a small crowd gathered in the hall giving electronic signatures together with ID cards to get the parcel. 'Parcel from America', the tagline of the company says. There are several companies in Tbilisi like this one that offer to ship items


A third of minibus drivers in Tbilisi on strike

by | January 26, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch -- About 600 minibus drivers went on strike in Tbilisi Friday, causing crowding on buses and in the metro. The strike has the support of about 30 % of all minibus drivers in the capital. They are protesting against a new license system which has left


Georgian morning show anchors criticized Elton John

by | January 22, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Two well-known Georgian TV anchors are accused of having used a homophobic slur. January 18, one of the anchors of a morning talk show on Imedi TV said: ‘I’m honestly sorry for both surrogate children of Elton John’. The other one


Thousands walked through Tbilisi to mark Christmas

by | January 8, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A traditional Alilo procession was held in Tbilisi on Monday to celebrate Christmas according to the Julian Calendar. Alilo, which is also a Christmas chant, was organized in each region and city of Georgia, as well as different districts


Controversial Christmas commercials in Georgia

by | January 1, 2013

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Another TV commercial in Georgia has caused controversy, as critics says it is sexist. The ad is for Elit Electronics, a large electronics stores chain, and shows a woman sitting in the front of a car, while a man tries to squeeze all the Christmas


Friday prayers interrupted in Georgian village

by | December 15, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A religious conflict has broken out in a village in Georgia after orthodox Christians started interrupting Muslims in their Friday prayer. The conflict started a few weeks ago. Tariel Nakaidze, leader of the Georgian Muslims, wrote on his Facebook


Two thirds still without a job in Georgia

by | December 13, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Two thirds still consider themselves unemployed in Georgia, a new survey shows. 67 percent say they are without a job in the latest survey of public attitudes by the National Democratic Institute (NDI). The number has not significantly


Second hand clothes are in fashion in Tbilisi

by | December 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - There are stores in between the large markets near the central train station in Tbilisi were people sell second hand clothes from abroad. There, people are crowding close to piles of clothes, peeking inside to find what they want. Rusa, 21, says


World AIDS Day marked in Tbilisi

by | December 2, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Saturday evening around 30 local organizations marked World AIDS Day with an event on Freedom Square in Tbilisi. Volunteers and organizers of the event stood and formed of giant ribbon holding candles in red plastic glasses as a sign of solidarity


Trade unions advise new Georgian government

by | November 25, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The Georgian Dream coalition had on its agenda to change many things after coming to power, including improve conditions in the work place by amending the Georgian labor code, which was amended in 2006 and has been criticized since both locally and


Rose revolutionaries organize SOS movement

by | November 24, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A recently established movement called SOS on Thursday gathered to celebrate the 9 year anniversary of the Rose Revolution. About 30 people showed up at Square of Roses, which is named after the Rose Revolution. The SOS movement was set up a week


Bus strike may be over Tuesday

by | November 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The bus strike in Tbilisi Monday appeared to be heading for a solution, as drivers promised to return to work Tuesday if a commission is formed to study their problems. The conflict has lasted five days and encompassed more than 1300 drivers

News, Society

Bus strike continues as negotiations fail

by | November 11, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Sunday, Tbilisi bus drivers met representatives of city hall to try to solve the conflict which has brought bus transport to a standstill, but the meeting ended unsuccessfully. All drivers of yellow buses in Tbilisi are on strike for the fourth day.


Bus strike creating difficulties for Tbilisians

by | November 10, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A bus strike is making life difficult for the population in the capital. For a third day more than 1300 bus drivers have been on strike, as they joined a wave of workers' protest that erupted after the parliamentary election in October. Together with


Gudaishvili Square protests continue

by | November 5, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Protests have reignited to protect a historic square in the old part of the Georgian capital as the square's fate is still uncertain. Saturday, groups once again gathered on Gudiashvili Square in downtown Tbilisi. The rally was directed at


Behind the battle lines of a miners’ strike

by | November 4, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- The miners in Georgia are not giving up as they enter their fourth week of protest in the village Chiatura. More than 3600 workers demand a substantial pay rise and improvement in their slave-like working conditions. They started protesting


‘Food, not bombs’ event held in Tbilisi

by | October 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- A group of volunteer youth in Tbilisi decided to organize a charity event in the city internationally known as Food Not Bombs. Food which cannot be sold is gathered from grocery stores, restaurants, bakeries and markets, and is handed out to people


Tbilisoba: what treats an old city can offer

by | October 8, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- Georgia’s capital last weekend was the scene of elaborate display of handicraft, winemaking, food and fun, as the annual celebration Tbilisoba as usual drew large crowds to engage in various aspects of Georgian traditional ways of life. Tbilisoba


Marking World Animal Day

by | October 4, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch -- While the country is rocked by political tension, rallies and protests, up to twenty students and others today gathered at Tbilisi Concert Hall to mark World Animal Day. They told DFWatch that they view it as a day for the protection of animal rights


Georgian communications watchdog sabotaging must-carry

by | September 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – A study concludes that Georgia's National Communications Commission is failing to cooperate effectively with society. The study was done by the must carry monitoring group, which estimates that out of the 3 621 256 voters in Georgia, over 200 000


Rising ticket prices on Tbilisi’s public transport

by | September 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Salome (22) is a reporter for a Tbilisi-based online newspaper. Due to her job, she needs to visit different places in the capital at least five times a day. Her managers do not cover transportation fees for her, as the office is run on a tight budget


Students demonstrating for their rights

by | September 18, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - A group of university students refuses to attend lectures when the new academic year begins 17 September. They claim that the quality of education is not on the level they expect, based on how much they pay. The student’s movement Laboratoria 1918


Students demand fired professor reinstated

by | September 16, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Students at the state university in Tbilisi have launched a protest to demand that a lecturer who was fired for her political views gets back her position. Professor of philosophy and gender researcher Lela Gafrindashvili was teaching various


The Dry Bridge in Tbilisi – a market of memories

by | August 12, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – For many years, Goga has been selling various old things in downtown Tbilisi. He mostly sells to tourists, but also to local collectors. He can't even remember when he started, but really enjoys it, as most of his stuff is handmade by himself.


How tourists see Georgia and what they expect

by | July 23, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Luis from Ecuador has been traveling for seven years around the world. This time he stops in Georgia for a while. He hadn't heard much about this country, but stopped by here on his way to somewhere else. Then he decided to stay for several weeks.


Hard luck if you are a Roma in Tbilisi

by | June 14, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – Walking the streets of Tbilisi, at several spots you will see groups of children dressed in worn-out, brightly colored clothes, with dirty hands and faces, asking you for money. These beggars come from the city's Roma community. The children you


Show of support for anti-homophobia demonstrators

by | May 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch – After peaceful demonstrators against homophobia were beaten by counter-demonstrators Thursday, people gathered in front of parliament building on Friday to protest the incident. “I’ve seen footage of yesterday’s gathering on TV and I’ve


Nani is one of Georgia’s missing 23 %

by | May 1, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Nani (48) left Georgia about 17 years ago to work in Italy and send money to her family. She’s from Samtredia, a small town in Western Georgia. Her husband works at a local theater, earning a small salary. Her daughter goes to school, while her son


A quarter of Georgia’s population are missing

by | April 30, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - 23 per cent of Georgia's population is away from the country, 80 per cent of which are illegal labor migrants and sole bread-winners. These are some of the findings in a new report made by Liberal Academy Tbilisi, called Visa Facilitation and Readmission:


Abkhazians go to Georgia for medical treatment

by | April 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - The de facto president of Georgia’s breakaway region Abkhazia recently said a veteran from Abkhazia had died in a Georgian hospital. The government here in Tbilisi has not commented of given any details. DF Watch visited a few large hospitals


Strict rules leave rail passengers in Tbilisi for the holidays

by | April 17, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Saturday morning, the day before Easter, there is a large crowd at the railway station in Tbilisi. All of them have bags of luggage and are trying to find their tickets for the train or are buying them. The Easter holiday lasts four days in Georgia

Investigative reports, Society

Georgians struggling to get through European visa maze

by | March 20, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Vakhtang Nadibaidze (53) stands in line in front of the Polish embassy, waiting for the answer to his visa application. Many Georgians have been in his place, facing the labyrinth it is to get a visa at the European embassies here. He remembers how about


Stricter Turkish visa-rules making life tougher

by | February 3, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Nani has been working in Turkey for last ten years at a rich family, taking care of all the household activities. Her husband died years ago and she had to provide her two daughters with food and clothes. She couldn’t find a job here in Georgia and decided to leave for Turkey


Georgia’s eco-migrants are living dangerously

by | January 19, 2012

TBILISI, DFWatch - Georgia, which already has 250 000 internal war refugees, does not recognize eco-migrants. Thirty thousand families are left with faint promises from the government, and many choose to stay in life-threatening homes. Last August, Khatia Nazghaidze (3) drowned while her family was on a waiting list for immediate resettlement due to a dangerous river which had already flooded the village once. Efforts to help those affected are not working, due to mismanagement of compensation payments, and alternate housing which is so bad that families prefer to live in danger. The situation took at turn to the worse last summer. Heavy persistent rain in eastern and western Georgia between June 12 and 22 led to landslides which ultimately killed seven people and affected more than 3,000 houses, according to the Red Cross. Hundreds of families had to abandon their homes, which were left in a shambles, or because surrounding infrastructure like water, sewage and electricity was out of service, or their farmlands and roads destroyed. The Georgian refugee ministry has registered 35 204 families as affected by natural disasters, some of which are refugees, ...

News, Society

Does the road to peace go through tasty food?

by | October 18, 2011

Can the Caucasus region be united through good taste? That was one of the questions as food producers from all over the region gathered in Tbilisi for a peace festival over the weekend, with the aim of building peace and develop food business in the Caucasus region. Various types of tea, cheese, wine and honey from different regions were on display both for the eye's and the tongue's satisfaction. Georgian, Armenian, Azerbaijani tea-growers, beekeepers, wine and cheese makers gathered in the downtown old district of Tbilisi to share ideas and discuss, examine and present their products. The main aim of the festival was to present Caucasian brands; products which are made within the scope of cooperation in the Caucasus - Caucasian wine, tea, honey and cheese. Representatives of each brand presented theire products and after tasting, people shared their opinion about which product was better. Many tourists also attended the festival. Oskar Pentikainen, senior programm officer for Eurasia at the organization International Alert says that this festival is more about building peace than economic profit or doing business. According to him, there are always problems when ...

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