Since 2010, more than 28,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) throughout Georgia have benefited from free legal advice on matters such as access to housing and land, social benefits and livelihood opportunities.
These legal aid services are made available through the establishment of legal clinics in the regional offices of the Ministry of Internally Displaced Persons from the Occupied Territories, Refugees and Accommodation of Georgia (MRA), which resulted from a partnership between UN Women and the Ministry with funding from the Government of Norway and the European Union (EU).
The United Nations Office (UNO) in Georgia and the European Law Students Association of Georgia (ELSA) jointly organized this year's observance of International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. Students from universities of Tbilisi and youth leaders participated in a panel discussion organized under the theme, “Holocaust Remembrance: Educating for a Better Future” on January 27, 2017 at Museum Hotel.
We note the announcement of the imminent closure of Khurcha-Nabakevi and Orsantia-Otobaia crossing points along the Inguri River. It is incumbent on the United Nations to raise the very real concerns of the population being negatively impacted by these changes, creating greater vulnerability and isolation of those living in the adjacent areas. Based on observed patterns the closure of the remaining pedestrian crossing points will likely affect at least 1,000 crossings a day on average.
The United Nations are concerned that the announced restrictions will have negative consequences for the humanitarian and development needs of those living in Abkhazia, Georgia. As movement is further restricted, the people of Abkhazia will find it more difficult to access basic services such as healthcare and education and participate in economic activities and social events such as weddings, funerals and public holiday commemorations, as well as family gatherings across the dividing line. Notably, access to education for children who have been crossing to attend schools in their mother tongue will be impeded.
The Public Defender of Georgia, in his “Special Report on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality” (2015), identifies sexual harassment in the workplace as one of the most widespread and unreported issues.
Although reliable national data are lacking, figures from European Union (EU) countries reveal that one in two women has experienced sexual harassment at least once. Out of these, 32% indicated a colleague, manager or customer as the perpetrator (European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, 2015). Despite the magnitude of the problem, sexual harassment is considered to be a taboo topic in Georgia, and many people who have experienced it are unaware that it is a form of violence and discrimination. UN Women met with Ekaterine Skhiladze, Deputy Public Defender, to discuss how sexual harassment can be prevented, and what a person can do who has experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.
The Ministry of Culture and Monument Protection of Georgia hosted the eighth annual Duruji Theatre Award ceremony on 27 December 2016. Three of the four principal awards went to Lysistrata, a play devoted to ending violence against women and girls.
Art, including theatre, is a powerful tool for raising awareness about violence against women and girls and for changing public perceptions and attitudes towards it. As such, UN Women, in the framework of the UN Joint Programme to Enhance Gender Equality in Georgia (funded by the Government of Sweden), supported the big stage premiere of Lysistrata at the Rustaveli Theatre in 2015. Since then, the play has been included in the regular repertoire of the Rustaveli Theatre and performed on the stage of Kutaisi Theatre.
“Oladi” (a type of pancake) is one of the most popular pastries in Georgia. It requires little time to prepare and is very tasty, which is why almost every family makes it quite often. The Kvitia sisters, Nona and Nana have been baking oladis since childhood. Later on, baking them became their first source of income.
In 1992, due to the armed conflict in Abkhazia, Nona and Nana, aged 11 and 9 at the time, had to leave their home and move from Ochamchire district to the village of Ingiri in western Georgia. They found shelter with their cousin Inga Chokoraia, whose home was shared with many other relatives displaced from Abkhazia. Facing financial hardships, the three cousins came up with the idea of baking and selling oladis. Nona Kvitia recalls:
“We were too young, but we started up our business out of necessity. First we left the baked goods with our acquaintances to sell in the marketplace. We were avoiding people and did not want to be seen. Eventually, we realized that the oladis were very popular. We became famous, and started selling to shops. After some time, we got active in other fields of work but would always go back to baking when we needed to.”