Georgia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs Assesses Human Rights Situation in Occupied Regions

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Georgia (MFA) released the second Quarterly Report on the Human Rights Situation in the Occupied Regions of Georgia, which covers the period from April to June 2016.

The report was prepared by the MFA in coordination with various governmental agencies and reveals human rights violations in the occupied territories of Georgia during the given period.

The report reads that gross violations of human rights, including arbitrary deprivation of life, arbitrary detention, restrictions on freedom of movement, mass infringement of property rights and restrictions on the right to receive education in the native language have been reported from the occupied territories.

The report also stresses that Georgia’s breakaway regions Abkhazia and South Ossetia are occupied by Russia.

According to the document, the most alarming fact was the murder of Georgian citizen Giga Otkhozoria, who was killed by a so-called “border guard” along the occupation line with the Abkhazian region on May 19. The murder was committed in the village of Khurcha, Zugdidi district, located in the territory controlled by the government of Georgia. Othozoria’s murderer, Rashid Kanciogli, is under home arrest and despite several requests, the Abkhazian side refuses to transfer him to the Georgian side.

“The full responsibility for it (Otkhozoria’s murder) lies with the Russian Federation as the power in effective control of the region,” the document reads.

Moreover, the MFA says that the occupation policy of the Russian Federation regarding the territory of Georgia deprives several hundreds of thousands of IDPs (Internally Displaced People) of their internationally recognized right to a voluntary, safe and dignified return to places of their permanent residence.

The Ministry also notes that on April 1, 2016, a so-called “Law on the Legal Status of Foreign Citizens in Abkhazia” and “Law on Entry to and Exit from Abkhazia” became operational. After this the occupation regimes of Sokhumi and Tskhinvali started a new illegal wave of “passportization” in the occupied territories, which aims at classifying the population into categories of “citizens of Abkhazia” and “foreign citizens”.

The MFA is concerned about the human rights situation in the occupied territories of Georgia and appeals to the international community to take immediate and adequate measures to prevent violations of human rights and all forms of ethnic discrimination in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions.

The Ministry started preparing quarterly reports on the human rights situation in the Occupied Regions of Georgia in 2015. In total, four such reports were prepared last year.

Thea Morrison

11 August 2016 19:55