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Georgian Activist from Occupied Tskhinvali Awarded for Human Rights Protection

By Tea Mariamidze
Friday, December 14
Tamar Mearakishvili, Georgian activist based in the country’s occupied Akhalgori area, has been awarded by the Embassy of Netherlands with the Human Rights Award for her activities in occupied Akhalgori.

Embassies of the Netherlands and France in Georgia awarded organizations and activists in Georgia in connection to the Human Rights Day, marked on December 10.

The Netherlands Embassy issued the prizes for the first time this year and the priority was to identify local community activists.

The Embassy of the Netherlands also awarded Guliko Khangoshvili, chairman of the Women's Council of Pankisi.

Besides, two ethnic Azeri young men from Sadakhlo, Kamran Afandiyev and Arias Dashdemirl, who founded various educational centers, including Georgian language learning courses, won the awards.

As for the winner organizations in the field of human rights, the French Embassy awarded them. These organizations are Kakheti Regional Development Fund, as well as organization Imedi handicap and organization Sokhumi.

Mearakishvili is a journalist and a human rights activist, who faces four different charges, raised against her by the puppet regime of South Ossetia for “fabrication and falsification of documents” and “defamation towards the ruling party United Ossetia.”

Last year she faced illegal detention twice but was later released. The activist was deprived of all ID documents and has been restricted to leave the occupied territory.

In spring the Georgian Public Defender Nino Lomjaria nominated Mearakishvili, Georgian for the United Nations Human Rights Prize and Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prize for her "outstanding contribution to defending the rights of the conflict-affected population”.

Lomjaria wrote that activist and blogger Mearakishvili has been reporting on the critical human rights situation in the occupied town of Akhalgori and the violation of the rights of local people by the de facto authorities, "at the risk of putting her own life, health and safety in danger”.

She also urged the Georgian government to pay the utmost attention to Mearakishvili and her family’s social situation and to protect their rights.

Lomjaria’s statement reads that by nominating her for the United Nations and Vaclav Havel Human Rights Prizes, the public defender is expressing her gratitude to Mearakishvili for her contribution to the protection of the rights of the conflict-affected population.