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Emigrants Returned To Protect Their Rights

26.09.2012

On September 17, emigrants, who arrived in Georgia via Sarpi Custom-Checkpoint, visited Guria after Batumi and held an assembly in Lanchkhuti center with the request “Protect Our Votes.”

“Rights of Georgian emigrants are breached. Government has artificially restricted our right to participate in the elections. Although CEC Chairman said Georgian consulates abroad will not request emigrants to provide a notification from residence places, this document was changed into an application to be approved by notary. Instead, now they request registration that is impossible for Georgian emigrants because 135 000 out of total 175 000 Georgian emigrants in Greece stay there illegally. How an illegal emigrant can get this document when even legally living emigrants cannot get them?” one of the founders of the organization Georgian Emigrants for Democratic Georgia Mamuka Liparteliani said.

He added that before Lanchkhuti they visited Batumi and now they are going to visit every big city of Georgia where they will organize assemblies.

Humanrights.ge interviewed several emigrants. They said the only purpose of their arrival in Georgia was to protect their votes. They said 1 200 000 – 1 700 000 people have migrated from Georgia though only 46 000 of them are officially registered.

“Can you imagine the difference between these figures and how many of them have their rights breached?! You definitely guess who benefits from it. Mamuka Katsitadze, head of Voters’ Lists Verification Commission, said only 310 000 people have left the country whilst only 175 000 people live in Greece,” Mamuka Liparteliani said.

An emigrant woman said: “We left Georgia 11 years ago. We have never faced similar problems at any elections before. As we learned, people live in informational vacuum here. So we arrived here to inform everybody what is going on and to protect our rights. We want to have right to participate in the elections.”

Georgian people from 12 different countries joined the assembly. Most of them refrain from naming themselves stating – “we do not have guarantee that our relatives will not face problems because of our protest.”

“This is our country, we have similar democracy here. We were crying on our way here because we are sorry for what is happening in Georgia. How can we get those documents which the Georgian state demands from us?!” emigrants wondered, who continued their way to the eastern Georgia from Lanchkhuti.

Nino Mshvidobadze, Guria

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