DRI: Residents of the occupied territories are illegally restricted from transporting cargo through the de facto checkpoint
According to the Democracy Research Institute, from 2022, the population has been agreeing the transportation of cargo to Abkhazia and South Ossetia with the Office of the State Minister of Georgia for Reconciliation and Civic Equality. unlike the residents of the Tbilisi-controlled territory it is problematic for the population of the occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali to properly enjoy fundamental rights and freedoms. Against this background, the restrictions on cargo transportation additionally worsens their rights situation. Part of the population notes that the vague restriction on the transportation of goods, inter alia, refers to food and other basic necessities.
The above information was initially spread via the social network. Additional information about the issue was provided to the organization by contact persons. In order to clarify the position of the State on the above issue, DRI addressed the State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality of Georgia.
According to the Democracy Research Institute, the population is not aware about what type of cargo they are allowed to transport and what kind of legal provisions are in force; whether there is a legal restriction that prevents non-entrepreneurial individuals from transporting a certain type or quantity of cargo; what is considered an amount of personal consumption or, if desired, how they can use the special enterprise status.
Article 242 of the Tax Code recognizes a special enterprise status for people living/doing business in the occupied territories. This relationship is also regulated by Article 6, part 2, of the Law of Georgia on Occupied Territories. The law prohibits the transfer of a product that belongs to the scope of permit and license activities, as well as a product that is of military purpose, or considers it an object of control. However, for the second year, there has been a harmful practice beyond the provisions of the law. Namely, it is possible to import products from the Tbilisi-controlled territory to the occupied regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali only with the individual consent of the relevant official.
According to DRI's assessment, it is important for the State to abandon the harmful practices/regulations that create additional barriers for the population to enjoy their freedom of movement; If there is a need for such a regulation, the State must justify the critical necessity of the said restriction and the impossibility of achieving the set goal by other, less painful methods; And the Office of the State Minister of Georgia should provide information to the population about what kind and quantity of cargo is allowed to be transported; what is considered an amount of personal consumption and, if desired, how stakeholders can benefit from the special enterprise status.