DRI: All 116 villages along the dividing line should be granted special settlement status

The on-site study of the problems and needs of the local population of the villages located along the occupation line by the Democracy Research Institute made it clear that the local population suffer from severe socio-economic and infrastructural problems. Amid the process of borderization, locals have to live in constant fear of kidnapping and illegal detention; Residents of part of the villages cannot enjoy freedom of movement; The most pressing problem for most of the population is poverty and unemployment; No preschools or schools function in most of the villages; Internal roads are damaged in some of the settlements; The population also suffer from the lack of land; There is a shortage of irrigation and drinking water and there are no pharmacies or medical facilities; The villages are being abandoned by young people.

Additional efforts are needed to address the socio-economic and infrastructural problems of the villages located along the occupation line. Along with efforts at the local level, it is important to address the issues at the legislative and executive levels.

The Democracy Research Institute considers granting special settlement status to the villages located along the dividing line as one of the solutions to the problems of the local population, while before granting the status, it is advisable to extend the benefits provided for by the Law of Georgia on the Development of Mountainous Regions to all 116 villages located along the occupation line.

The Democracy Research Institute has already addressed Kakhaber Kuchava, Chairman of the Parliament of Georgia, and Irakli Gharibashvili, Prime Minister of Georgia, with a proposal to grant special settlement status to all 116 villages located along the dividing line.