Travel documents are issued on refugees for the first time in Georgia; with those documents refugees can cross the border of Georgia. Chechen Refugees residing in Pankisi Valley have been asking for travel documents for a long time already.
One of the rooms of the Duisi Dormitory in the village of Duisi is crowded. A family of Chechen refugees live in this room. They were luckier than others and have lived in the boarding school since the settlement. In 1999 all refugees lived in the same situation however, soon Kists offered their houses to them and others sheltered hospitals or other buildings.
Chechen refugees are offered to integrate in Georgia; however the refugees cannot see a future in Georgia ….
By August of 2007 1,097 Chechen refugees were officially registered in Georgia. They were settled in communal housing conditions dorm like facilities in the villages of Pankisi Valle, especially after the Second Chechen War in 1999. Some of the families were taken in and sheltered by Kist locals (Chechens who have lived on Georgian territory for the last 200 years, but others, less fortunate families have lived and continue to live all crowded in one room accommodations in various buildings. Conditions they fact are often very difficult: social economic and political.
A neighbor of Said and Madina is washing dishes in the yard. She did not notice my photographer and I open the iron gate. The neighbor shakes the soupy hands and calls out:
- Said, somebody is looking for you…
Administrative Bureau of the Tbilisi Regional Court discusses the appeal of Malkhaz Gumashvili, a resident of the village of Duisi in Pankisi Gorge. Gumashvili demands the court order the Georgian Internal Ministry to reimburse him personal damages of 15,000 USD. As a result of the bloody special operation, the policemen killed two people. The Unit of Special Mission murdered twenty-three-year-old Vakho Gumashvili and the brother of the suitor, Avto Gumashvili, died in the subsequent house fire. Residents of the gorge still suffer from the trauma as a result of the special operation.
Last night, Chechen refugees left the area in front of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) where they had camped down recently. They left the area after having reached some agreements with law enforcers. According to one of Chechen refugee, they had made some verbal agreement with law enforcers and decided to leave the area. Besides that, the refugees received an official notification from the UNHCR that they would receive an official reply to their demand to resettle to a third country within a week. Refugees stayed in Tbilisi and are waiting for the reply from the UNHCR.
Chechen refuges from Pankisi Gorge have been holding protest demonstrations in the yard of the UN High Commissioner’s office in Kazbegi Street # 2. Seven families with thirty people demand the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to draw their attention to their problems and do not intend to stop demonstration.
Human Rights Defenders blame the Georgian Government for not having followed demands and recommendations of the International Organizations. Chechen refugees have become victims of illegal activities more frequently for the last time. The number of the attacks and murders has caused serious public concern.
A military commissioner and councilor of the village of Jokolo might be detained for the forceful recruiting of a Chechen refugee to the Georgian army. Mr. Vakhid Borchashvili was released from military service two months after non-governmental organizations became involved in his case. However, his family is demanding that his offenders be punished.
NGOs fight to defend rights of youth. They call the government to stop force calling of youth to serve in military forces, recall those articles from legislation, which defends their rights, which are very often violated.
Do you think that the rights of Chechen refugees are violated in Georgia?