Border between Georgia and South Ossetia. Photo: Jelger Groeneveld

03 July 2019, 17:39

AI draws Russia's attention to violations of rights of Georgian border villagers

Restrictions on the crossing of the borders of Georgia with Abkhazia and South Ossetia violate the rights of residents of border villages who cannot run their farms and risk being detained for crossing the border, declares the human rights organization "Amnesty International" (AI).

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that starting from February 4, residents of South Ossetia cannot cross the border with Georgia just with their passports: they need to get permissions from the KGB to cross the border.

"People living on the border of Georgia with Abkhazia and South Ossetia can be detained by Russian law enforcers because they crossed the 'state border' or stayed near the demarcation line," announces the AI in its report.

Members of the AI spoke with more than 150 villagers who were affected by the "borderization." The human rights defenders have concluded that in connection with the decrease in the number of border checkpoints on the Georgian border with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, local residents lost access to markets where they could sell their products, as well as to pastures, gardens, and water sources.

"Every year, I used to collect more than 100 boxes of apples in my garden and sell them. The income was enough for my family members to survive. Since 2017, I cannot enter my garden," said 71-year-old Amiran Gugutishvili from the Gugutiantkari village located near the border between Georgia and South Ossetia.

The AI called on the authorities of Russia, Abkhazia, and South Ossetia to ease the procedure for crossing the demarcation line and open the border checkpoints closed earlier.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on July 3, 2019 at 10:34 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

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