Military Bases of the Russian Federation in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia and Their Impact on Human Rights
The Democracy Research Institute has drawn up a report on Russian Military Bases in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia and Their Impact on Human Rights.
The report describes the military policy of the Russian Federation towards the occupied regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The document reviews Russia's alliance and strategic partnership treaties signed with both occupied regions, by which the latter has further strengthened its positions. At the same time, some references have been made to the enhancement of the military bases that, according to the agreement reached at the 1999 OSCE Summit in Istanbul, should have been withdrawn from the territory of Georgia by Russia. Contrary to this, Russian strengthened its bases in the occupied territories and began building new ones. The same happened to the six-point agreement reached after the 2008 Russian-Georgian war, which, apart from a ceasefire, called for the withdrawal of forces to pre-war positions. Instead of implementing the agreement, the so-called “borderization” is now ongoing.
According to the report, Russia's increased intervention has led to a sharp deterioration in the human rights situation in the occupied regions. The closure of most of the crossing points along the dividing line has further aggravated the social situation. The number of arrests on charges of illegally crossing the so-called border has significantly increased. Strict restrictions on freedom of movement have negatively affected the living conditions of the population of the occupied territories, as well as their access to education and health care services, and have contributed to discrimination against ethnic Georgians.
The report highlights the killings of ethnic Georgians on the territories controlled by the Russian Federation. Four Georgian citizens have been brutally killed in the Russian-occupied territories since 2014: 18-year-old Davit Basharuli in 2014, 31-year-old Giga Otkhozoria in 2016, 35-year-old Archil Tatunashvili in 2018 and 29-year-old Irakli Kvaratskhelia in 2019.
The deployment of Russian FSB units along the dividing line serves to control the possibility of direct contact between Georgians and Abkhazians/Georgians and Ossetians.
In the final part of the report, the Democracy Research Institute addresses the Government of Georgia and international organizations with recommendations.
To the Government of Georgia
Pay special attention to the human rights violations in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia; Raise the issue of responsibility of the Russian Federation, as a state exercising de facto control over both regions, before the international community, with regard to the human rights violations; Develop an action plan for the protection of human rights in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia; Constantly put the issues of Russia's strengthening expansionist policy and illegal military actions that jeopardize the security of the entire region as a major topic on the agenda when communicating both with international institutions and partners of the country.