On April 7, the media reported tragic information of several people's washing ashore by the Enguri River near the village of Shamgona. According to the reports, the Gali district residents were trying to cross from the occupied territory to Georgian controlled territory through the Enguri River. All of them died while crossing the Enguri River.
We, signatory Organizations, extend our condolences to the deceased's families and express our concern at the inadequate protection of Georgian citizens' rights living in the occupied territories by state agencies. For years, NGOs have been responding to the restrictions on citizens' rights living in and around the occupied territories and the crisis situation existing there and have called on the authorities to take effective action.
As a result of the Covid-19 virus pandemic, the checkpoint's closure without any warning and indefinite time on the Enguri deprived the population of access to all basic and vital services. The closure of the so-called administrative border resulted in complete isolation of the local population and a humanitarian crisis because they did not have access to adequate medical care, food, pensions, or other necessary services. It should be noted that the state took effective measures that the beneficiaries receive pensions; in particular, at a certain time near the bridge, it became possible to withdraw money through mobile banking machines or to use Russian bank ATMs in the Gali area.
The introduction of a five-day mandatory quarantine for the population moving out of the occupied territories to receive basic services has created a new barrier in the life of the population. Refraining from crossing to the Georgian-controlled territory due to barriers and/or bypassing the so-called “border” has posed a threat to the health, economic, physical and other security of the population. The uncontrolled crossing of the dividing line to access basic services and receive social assistance has claimed the lives of many people to date.
For the protection of the rights of Georgian citizens in the occupied territories we, the signatory organizations call on:
To the Government of Georgia:
To International Organizations:
To Georgian Security Service:
IDP Women Association "Consent"
Georgian Young Lawyers Association - GYLA
Cultural-Humanitarian Found "Sukhumi"
Institute for the Study of Nationalism and Conflicts
Abkhaz Intercont Foundation
Fund of Women Entrepreneurs
Association "Peaceful and Business Caucasus"
"Center for Peace and Civic Development"
 InterpressNews, "Rescuers removed the bodies of 3 people from the Enguri River, they were trying to cross into the territory controlled by the Georgian government from Gali", 2021. Available at: https://bit.ly/3rXyp3p [last viewed 07.04.2021]
 GYLA Statement, "The Situation of People Living in the Occupied Territories is Still Alarming" 30.12.2019. Available at: https://bit.ly/37ZcbGz [last viewed 07.0422021].