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The owner of the agricultural plot located on the occupied territory pays the land tax for years


Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli 

Human Rights Center continues monitoring of the situation in the villages alongside the occupation line to identify the needs and problems of the local population. This time, the HRC representatives visited the villages of Tsitsagiantkari, Akhrisi and Jariasheni of Gori municipality on July 25. 

In Tsitsagiantkari the locals mostly complained about the drinking water. They said, there is one well in the village, which cannot supply the entire village with enough drinking water.

“They promised to resolve the problem and construct the second well but nobody has realized the promise yet,” the locals said.

They added that they cannot harvest the corn because they are waiting their turn to hire the crop harvester; until their turn comes, the harvest will be half-destroyed.

“We need to harvest barley and wheat but cannot go to the field because the machines are not available,” one of the locals said.

There is no outpatient’s center in Tsitsagiantkari village either; the locals need to drive several kilometers to get first medical aid in Akhrisi village. 

There is one banner indicating at the occupation line in the village. Instead the barbed wires the occupied territory is marked with the water channel. In the past years, the occupation forces arrested several locals for the illegal crossing of the so-called border, when they crossed the channel to get their cows back.

HRC co-director Nino Tsagareishvili said the government shall implement special program to address the problems of the locals in the villages alongside the occupation line and to pay more attention to those villages to reduce migration. 

“There are acute social-economic problems in the villages alongside the occupation line. Interviews with the people revealed that they have problems with the drinking and irrigation water as well as other significant problems which shall be resolved with active engagement of the local self-governmental bodies. The problems alongside the occupation line are connected with the safety problems and it is important to pay more attention to these villages because fundamental rights and freedoms of the people are violated: for example arbitrary detentions of locals. In order to reduce the safety-related risks, effective patrolling shall be implemented on the place because recently people are still kidnapped from the village,” Nino Tsagareishvili said.

One part of the agricultural plots of locals in Akhrisi village of Gori municipality is now in the occupied territory. HRC lawyer Aleksi Merebashvili defends interests of one of the locals. According to the lawyer, the state makes the owner of the 17 hectare agricultural land, which is now in the occupied territory, to pay the land tax. 

“G.Kh applied to Human Rights Center for help. According to his statement, as a result of moved occupation line in 2012, his agricultural land with the total space of 12 hectares turned up in the occupied territory. According to the National Agency on Public Registry the plot belongs to him. Although he notified relevant institutions about the occupation of his land and asked for help, nobody responded to his request yet. Moreover, he is still demanded to pay the land tax for the occupied plot and for that reason the property is sequestered for unpaid taxes. We have appealed the Revenue Service to remove the land tax from the occupied plot. We also petitioned various state institutions to provide G.Kh with relevant assistance – like allocating alternative land for him or paying compensation for the lost property. We will wait for their answers and it is not excluded that we will have to appeal the court to claim the reimbursement of G.Kh’s loss,” Merebashvili said.

HRC representatives monitor the situation in the villages alongside the occupation line in the frame of the project implemented with the financial support of the Norwegian Helsinki Committee. The project aims to support the ongoing ICC investigation into the crimes committed during the Russia-Georgia war. 

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