On March 11, the Democracy Research Institute presented a Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali Region/South Ossetia.
The report reviews all the acute and important issues of the occupied territories of Georgia throughout 2021.
Last year, the main problem was again the safety of people/survival and creeping occupation/so-called borderization, which was mainly manifested in the mass violation of property rights.
As in 2020, the difficult epidemiological situation and access to health services were major issues, which claimed the lives of several people. Compared to previous years, the number of arrests of people for crossing the so-called border increased. The number of illegal detentions by Tskhinvali was particularly high.
The problems created in Akhalgori as a result of lockdown should be particularly highlighted. As a result of the so-called Chorchana-Tsnelisi crisis, the de facto authorities of Tskhinvali, in order to exert pressure on Tbilisi, restricted the freedom of movement of the population of Akhalgori, which led to the humanitarian crisis and facilitated the so-called "creeping ethnic cleansing."
Violations of freedom of speech, thought and expression have also increased in the occupied territories of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Persecution and harassment of civil activists became more frequent, which often involved severe repressive measures. Obstruction of Georgian language education and actions aimed at violating various rights, through Russian soft power, also remained problematic.
In order to mitigate the problems identified as a result of one year of work, the Democracy Research Institute appeals to the Government of Georgia to:
- intensify diplomatic efforts to proactively inform the international community about the systemic human rights violations in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia;
- ensure that the issue of international responsibility of the party exercising effective control in the region (Russian Federation) is part of the agenda of international negotiations, including application of international sanctions against it;
- strengthen security measures in the villages adjacent to the administrative boundary line to prevent the illegal abduction of Georgian citizens;
- due to the difficult human rights situation in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia, the efforts of the Georgian authorities need to be proactive and action plans need to be developed in response to key risks, including to reopen the so-called checkpoints in order to ensure access of the population of Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia to timely and quality health care;
- establish special support mechanisms, in addition to the existing education and health care programmes, in order to assist the people living in Abkhazia and the Tskhinvali region/South Ossetia and along the dividing line.
Human rights in Abkhazia and South Ossetia / Tskhinvali region