Protesters in Tbilisi. June 21, 2019. Photo: REUTERS/Marika Kochiashvili

04 July 2019, 10:56

Rights defenders treat "borderization" as major factor of anti-Russian protests in Georgia

The erection of fortifications on the demarcation lines with South Ossetia and Abkhazia is painfully perceived by the Georgian society and supports anti-Russian sentiments in it, as can be seen from the recent protests in Tbilisi, the Amnesty International (AI) has stated.

The AI's report states that the restrictions imposed on the crossing of the Georgian-Abkhazian and Georgian-South-Ossetian borders violate the rights of residents of pre-border villages – they cannot manage their households and face risk of being detained for crossing the border.

"The negative consequences of 'borderization' were felt by everyone, who has crossed the border to work at farms, visit their relatives or receive health care services," said Levan Asatiani, an AI's researcher.

First of all, the peasants who make their living in agriculture have faced problems.

Among other consequences of the "borderization" are a sharp reduction in cross-border trade and breakdown of family ties (in many villages near the new border, Georgians and Ossetians used to marry each other, – note of the "Caucasian Knot"). According to AI estimates, thousands of people have suffered from these processes.

According to the Georgian party, hundreds of people are detained every year in South Ossetia who tried to "illegally" visit their relatives, a church or a cemetery.

Villagers who live near the demarcation line with South Ossetia said that they had to sell their livestock, because Russian servicemen took away their pastures. This has hit the poor villages even more, as in these areas it is hardly possible to find an alternative employment to agriculture.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on July 3, 2019 at 08:23 pm MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Semyon Charny; Source: CK correspondent

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