Armenians include Georgian territories in their possession: representative of Georgian ombudsman in Kvemo Kartli region (INTERVIEW)

Georgia, Tbilisi, 18 November / Trend , J.Babayeva /

Trend interview with the representative of the Commissioner for Human Rights (Ombudsman) of Georgia in Kvemo Kartli, Elbrus Mammadov.

Q: How many complaints have been received from the Azerbaijanis by the Office of the Ombudsman of Georgia in Kvemo-Kartli region since its establishment, and what problems are mostly complained?

A: The representation was established in December last year, but started functioning in February this year. During a year of our activities, the office has received about 600 appeals from the Azerbaijanis. The complaints relate to the problems of issuing pensions, registration of land plots, as well as illegal actions of the police. However, most of them relate to the self-will of the Armenians in the Sadakhli village. In this village the Armenians illegally arrest Azerbaijanis, take their livestock. Armenians claim that these lands belong to them. In this area, the border between Georgia and Armenia has been de-militarized. And taking the advantage of this, the Armenians themselves determine the border due to lands, populated by the Azerbaijanis, and include Georgian territories in their possession. In the villages of Tazakand and Burma the Armenians invaded the homes of Azerbaijanis, intimidating with arms, asked to leave "their land". And there are many such cases, we know only about 10-15. Complaints in this regard were sent to the government, the Ombudsman's office, the police. However, unfortunately, the special reaction was not followed.

Our office has examined the complaint in connection with the self-will of Armenians. We have been officially stated that in this area - near the village of Sadakhli - the border between Georgia and Armenia has not been de-militarized. Then a question arises: if the border has not been defined, how the Armenians in the border area - the territory of Georgia - build a military base?

Q: What work does the representation carry out in the legal enlightenment of the Azerbaijanis of Georgia?

A: The level of legal enlightenment of Azerbaijanis living in Georgia is very low. At present, several non-governmental organizations and the Congress of Azerbaijanis of Georgia are dealing with this issue. Free booklets in the Azeri language have been prepared and distributed. However, we can not cover all Azerbaijanis, since this requires money, which we do not have. Soon a legal clinic will start functioning at our representation, where five or six lawyers will provide free legal assistance.

Q: Opinions are expressed that the Azerbaijanis of Georgia are not represented in state institutions because of lack of the state language knowledge. Do you agree with this? What is the level of teaching the Georgian language at Azerbaijani schools?

A: In Armenian-populated Samtskh-Javakheti, the Armenians, who do not know the state language, are represented at each government agency starting from the prosecutor's office, judges, notary office, police department. Until recently, the courts' decisions in this region were published in Russian. If such assignments are possible in the region populated by the Armenians, why is it impossible in the Azerbaijani-populated Kvemo Kartli?  

On the other hand, the Azerbaijani MPs represented at the Parliament of Georgia do not know Georgian language. For what reasons, these concessions are not possible for other public officials?

Quite a lot of Georgian Azerbaijanis perfectly know the state language. Of the 30 Azerbaijanis who finished the Administrative School of Public Servants named after Zurab Zhvania in Kutaisi, only three or four were provided with job. According to our knowledge, there are only two Azerbaijanis at the office of the governor of Kvemo Kartli. They have no authority, though they are advisers.
The quality of teaching the Georgian language at Azerbaijani schools in Georgia recently increased. However, the benefits of this harvest will be only after 10-20 years. And before that serious problems can exist. At Azerbaijani schools the teachers of Georgian language without much interest teach their subject.

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