Humanitarian disaster - Georgians in South Ossetia demand attention of Georgian PM
“Hello, Mr. Giorgi Gakharia. I am Tamar Mearakishvili, a civil activist, living in Akhalgori. We have a very difficult situation here. Please pay attention to us,” a well-known human rights activist and ethnic Georgian who lives in South Ossetia has addressed the Georgian Prime Minister with an open letter.
Akhalgori region sits on the line of separation of the sides in the zone of the Georgian-Ossetian conflict. It is populated entirely by ethnic Georgians, but is controlled by the de facto authorities of South Ossetia. The area was part of the South Ossetian Autonomous Region of Georgia during the USSR period. South Ossetia declared its independence from Georgia in the early 1990s, which was followed by a bloody conflict.
After the Georgian-Russian war in this zone in August 2008, Moscow recognized South Ossetia (and Abkhazia) as independent states. Also, four more countries announced such recognition – Nicaragua, Venezuela, Nauru and Syria. Georgia considers both territories to be its integral part, in this it is supported by the rest of the international community.
It is not the first time that Tamara Mearakishvili has spoken about the unbearable living conditions in Akhalgori. The area is the only one in South Ossetia where ethnic Georgians were allowed to return to their homes after the 2008 war. Many of them hold Georgian citizenship and receive Georgian pensions.
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Mearakishvili published this photo of the snow-covered city and wrote that the Georgian population is now leaving the region due to complete poverty.
“You announced a whole plan of what you are going to do for us. Why make these beautiful promises in parliament and then not raise our question?” Mearakishvili writes.
She says she has asked for a meeting with the prime minister more than once, but to no avail.
“I don’t believe a single word you say anymore. Unfortunately, people are not important to you, ”Tamar Mearakishvili wrote.
Akhalgori in humanitarian disaster
Georgian media, including JAMnews, have repeatedly published stories that Akhalgori is on the brink of a humanitarian disaster. This began after more than a year ago, on September 4, 2019, the South Ossetian authorities closed the area, and local residents can no longer travel to the territory controlled by Georgia.
This was a vital necessity for the local population. People now cannot receive pensions, do not have access to doctors, and cannot even buy the necessary products.
The possibility of leaving and entering was opened during this time only once for several days.
Several people died only because the Ossetian authorities did not allow them to be transferred to a hospital in Tbilisi.