Promoting Property Rights in New Tourist Zones
With financial support from the Open Society Georgia Foundation, TI Georgia is one of four national NGOs that will jointly promote property rights, with a focus on through a media campaign, provision of legal aid, awareness raising and a “resettlement” policy for those affected. The project responds to the growing problems in property rights protection in Georgia, particularly related to infrastructure development in new tourist zones which affects both local residents and potential investors. In the context of the state’s strong interest in promoting tourism and developing tourist infrastructure, there are a growing number of cases of property rights violations. The situation is particularly acute in Svaneti, Anaklia, Kobuleti and the Black Sea coast. Often residents do not have proper registration of their property even though they have “owned” the area for many years. They lack information about their rights and adequate legal support, and are thus increasingly becoming victims of the state’s tourism investment strategy. In addition to losing their properties, most do not receive fair compensation. Particularly it is urgent in the context of property rights to raise awareness of the local community, to ensure relevant legal aid and to lobby the policy-making in the field of resettlement. The project aims to defend property rights violations on the basis of the law, the constitution and international norms, and to instill guaranties into practice in new tourist zones. The main activities will include a media campaign to raise awareness of rights, legal aid and to initiate a more formal “resettlement” standard in policy-making. The project partners are the Georgian Young Lawyers Association, Transparency International Georgia, Georgian Regional Media Association and Association Green Alternative.