We, the undersigned nongovernmental organizations, condemn the incident that occurred in the village of Duisi in the municipality of Akhmeta on January 3, 2017, when unidentified persons set the House of Culture of Duisi on fire. The House of Culture houses the Kakheti Regional Development Foundation (KRDF).
With the support of the KRDF, many significant programs have been carried out in the House of Culture of Duisi, which has served the purpose of developing the Pankisi Gorge and providing specific education to youth. KRDF has also given out grants to support small entrepreneurs. The House of Culture is one of a kind establishment in the Pankisi Gorge, which has operated for 15 years. Throughout its work, the KRDF has received positive feedback from the local population.
As it has been reported by the correspondent of Pankisi regional radio Way, gasoline was poured in several spots on the second floor of the House of Culture, including the entrance, on January 3. The front door and some parts of the floor have been damaged by the fire.
It it noteworthy that the number of negative and threatening statements towards KRDF have increased in the past two months.
The undersigned organizations express support to the KRDF and call upon the law enforcement agencies to timely and duly investigate the case, in an effort to avoid any suspicions and mistrust within the community. Also, if need be, the security of the staff of KRDF should be provided. There is a risk of ethnic and religious strife within the Pankisi Gorge if the case is not solved.
Georgia’s Reforms Associates - GRASS
Transparency International Georgia - TI Georgia
International Society for Fair Elections and Democracy
Media Development Foundation
World Experience for Georgia