After New Year, freedom of movement may be restricted for part of Gali population
According to the reports spread on November 27, 2021, Form No. 9, which is related to the freedom of movement of some residents of the Gali district,
will be abolished from January 1, 2022.
In 2013, the de facto authorities of Abkhazia offered to renounce Georgian citizenship in exchange for Abkhazian passports. However, the issuance of Abkhazian passports to the ethnic Georgian population was later halted on the grounds that the process might lead to the "Georgianization of Abkhazia." In 2017, the de facto administration of Abkhazia decided to abolish old Abkhazian passports and gradually replace Form No. 9 with a residence permit for the Gali population.
There are more than 30,000 people living in the Gali district, more than 5,000 of whom have only Form No. 9 and 1,049 - Abkhazian passports. 19,707 people have received residence permits. Only 1,049 Abkhaz citizens of Gali enjoy the right to vote in Gali.
The abolition of the document required for movement during the New Year holidays serves to create an additional barrier for locals. For fear of not being able to return home, five thousand residents of Gali may be forced to use Abkhazian-Russian passports. There is another solution: to wait for more than two months to get a residence permit or pay a bribe to the Russian military.
Given that for the third year in a row the movement between Tskhinvali and Tbilisi has been completely restricted, while the de facto authorities of Abkhazia is artificially breaking Gali away from Tbilisi's controlled territory by repealing Form No. 9, the Georgian authorities have to express a clear position. The Georgian Government must intensify its efforts to prevent discrimination against residents of Gali, to protect their interests and to restore their violated rights.
Residents of the Gali district who do not have a residence permit or an Abkhazian passport need a Form No. 9 for movement.