DRI: Akhalgori is being left without local population

Akhalgori is in danger of being left without the local population. The reason for the above is the new policy of the de facto authorities.

According to the information available to the Democracy Research Institute (DRI), the so-called South Ossetian presidential administration plans to temporarily open a crossing point. However, this "humanitarian" act allows movement only in one direction. The road will be opened for locals in the direction of Tbilisi, but they will not be able to return to the region until the final opening of the so-called border. However, at this stage it is unknown when the "border" will be opened in both directions.

No one has provided official information to the population about the opening of the crossing point in one direction, although the Akhalgori district administration has already been instructed to organize the process. Representatives of the administration plan to make special lists. Anyone living in the Akhalgori district will be able to leave the district. It is unknown for how long the de facto government plans to open the road, but it is known that this process must be completed before winter.

The local, mainly Georgian population have already started to leave Akhalgori. The de facto administration of Akhalgori has not created any problem for one of the locals, who needed to be transported to Tbilisi for medical treatment. He was allowed to move to the territory controlled by the central government, but before leaving the district, he was deprived of his travel document, which means that he cannot return home after recovering.

The population of Akhalgori is facing a real threat of losing their homes for the second time since 2008. The human rights situation in the occupied territories, especially in Akhalgori, requires constant monitoring by neutral actors.

Accordingly, the Democracy Research Institute calls on international organizations to:

  • Intensify their efforts to monitor the protection of human rights in the region and to ensure the openness of monitoring reports, so that all parties to the conflict and communities have the opportunity to discuss the problems seen by the neutral party;
  • Intensify their efforts to ensure that restrictions on freedom of movement are lifted in the occupied territories.

To the Government of Georgia:

  • Develop an action plan in connection with the crisis in Akhalgori and set out the measures aimed at reducing the harm suffered by people living in the occupied territories and conflict-affected population;
  • Intensify efforts to simplify the regime of freedom of movement (from the occupied regions to the territories controlled by the central government and vice versa).