DRI recommendations to the participants in the Geneva talks
The 54th round of the Geneva Discussions will be held on October 12-13, 2021. The Democracy Research Institute (DRI) believes that it is important to bring the issues relating to human security and fundamental rights to the forefront during the negotiation process. Accordingly, the organization calls on the participants in the negotiations to pay due attention to the above issues, the lack of resolution of which greatly affects the civilian population.

It is necessary to open all the crossing points closed in recent years

Numerous artificial barriers, including the introduction of additional documentation "necessary" for movement and the unpredictable and long-term closure of crossing points, have been created in Abkhazia and South Ossetia to restrict the free movement of the local population. Due to the fact that all crossing points remain closed, South Ossetia has been completely cut off from Tbilisi for two years. In order to give people access to quality medical care and education and to reunite families, the Odzisi-Mosabruni, Perevi-Kardzmani, Perevi-Sinaguri crossing points must be opened as soon as possible. The situation in the direction of Abkhazia is also difficult. Only two out of seven alternative crossing points are working today on the territory of Abkhazia-Samegrelo. Therefore, it is important to reopen the Khurcha-Nabakevi, Orsantia-Otobaia, Tagiloni-Shamgona, Lekukhona-Pakhulani, Muzhava-Lekukhona crossing points in the near future.

Vaccination process should be facilitated as much as possible

It is in the interests of the parties to the negotiations to increase the number of people vaccinated. Simplification of freedom of movement can speed up this process. Residents of Abkhazia and South Ossetia should be able to get vaccinated in the Tbilisi-controlled area, if they wish so.

Population of the Gali and Akhalgori districts should be given the right to receive education in their mother language

The right of Georgians living in Abkhazia and South Ossetia to receive education in their mother language is restricted. This practice is systemic and includes actions such as a clear ban on the Georgian-language education, harassment of Georgian language teachers in the workplace and removal of Georgian textbooks from curricula.

Parties should take measures to prevent illegal detentions and achieve the release of detainees

On September 30, 2020, Irakli Bebua was arrested in Gali for burning an Abkhazian flag. The maximum sentence for this action shall be one year in prison. Irakli Bebua has been serving his sentence for more than a year. The parties must agree on his immediate release. Gennady Bestaev, detained in Tskhinvali, should also be released from illegal imprisonment. The parties must agree on the need to immediately stop illegal borderization, which artificially increases the risks of illegal detentions.

Need for international monitoring mechanisms in Abkhazia and South Ossetia

The need for human rights control mechanisms is proved by the killings of ethnic Georgians: the death of 18-year-old Davit Basharuli under suspicious circumstances in 2014; the murder of 31-year-old Giga Otkhozoria in 2016; the torture and murder of Archil Tatunashvili in 2018; the death of Irakli Kvaratskhelia under suspicious circumstances in 2019. According to public reports, in addition to ethnic Georgians, Inal Jabiev (2020) also became the victim of torture, inhuman treatment and deprivation of life in South Ossetia and Henri Ateiba - in Abkhazia (2021). In no case has the issue of liability of the perpetrators been raised, which calls into question the effectiveness of investigation.

Akhalgori-based activist Tamar Mearakishvili is a victim of political persecution in South Ossetia. She has faced restrictions on freedom of movement and expression, as well as alleged discrimination.

Russia must stop the de facto and de jure annexation of the village of Aibga

The process of annexation of the village of Aibga in the Gagra district by the Russian authorities should be stopped. It is necessary for international actors to express their position on the annexation of the village.

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The format of the Geneva International Discussion was created after the August 2008 war. The decision to establish these discussions was taken along with the August 12, 2008 ceasefire agreement. In addition to Georgia and Russia, representatives of the United States, the OSCE, the European Union and the United Nations are taking part in the talks.