The severe social and economic problems of the population of the occupied regions are further complicated by the obstacles artificially created by the de facto authorities, which exacerbate their daily lives and restrict their access to basic human needs and rights. The problem is particularly acute in the Gali district, where the majority of the population is ethnic Georgians - people who have not left their homes despite the conflict. One of the major problems facing the Gali population is related to the documents required for movement.
In 2017, the de facto administration decided to remove old Abkhaz passports and to replace Forms No. 9 with residence certificates. Obtaining a residence certificate is especially problematic for people living in the Kodori Gorge. They can only move with a special permit issued on the spot by the de facto Security Service for a period of two weeks.
According to the de facto Abkhaz citizenship law, only an ethnic Abkhaz, or a person who is not an ethnic Abkhaz but had lived in Abkhazia from 1994 to 1999 and is not a citizen of any state other than the Russian Federation, may hold a passport of an Abkhaz citizen. This provision does not apply to half of the 80,000 people living in the Gali district before the war or to the 200,000 ethnic Georgians living in different parts of Abkhazia, who fled the region during the 1992-1993 armed conflict.
Corrupt environment also makes it difficult for the residents of Gali to obtain documents. According to the locals, it is even difficult to enter a building to submit documents, as they have to stand in long queues and pay 1,500 rubles (about 29 USD) for each document to be submitted; otherwise they have to stand in queues for several weeks. They pay an additional 2,000 rubles (approximately $ 34) as a bribe when the document is finally prepared.
The documents of the Gali population also affect the funding allocated from the de facto Abkhaz budget for the Gali district. The de facto central authorities of Abkhazia believe that the subsidies intended for the Gali district should be cut precisely because of the fact that a very small part of the Gali population has Abkhaz citizenship.
The obstacles created by the de facto authorities for the residents of Gali, which are already vulnerable as a result of the conflict, further complicate their daily lives, which should be considered a discriminatory treatment.
Movement documents in Gali district