Georgia is a nation well-known for its conflict with Russia over provinces South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2008. Georgia is a former member of the Soviet Union, and South Ossetia and Abkhazia declared independence from Georgia shortly after it left the Soviet Union. However, neither Abkhazia nor South Ossetia is fully recognized as independent from Georgia internationally. Their declarations of independence resulted in conflict with Georgia.
Here are nine facts about refugees in Georgia.
1. As of mid-2015, there were more than 250,000 “refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR” in Georgia. This includes refugees, people in refugee-like situations (who have not been formally recognized as refugees), internally displaced persons, asylum seekers and other stateless persons.
3. The 2008 conflict created 150,000 Georgian asylum seekers. Fewer than 1,000 Georgian asylum seekers had been accepted each year globally since the early 2000s.
4. More than 1,400 refugees from other countries were accepted into Georgia in 2015. The majority of them were from Iraq and Syria.
5. Since Russia’s second invasion of Chechnya in 1999, about 12,000 Chechnya refugees came to Georgia. Russia has made claims that Georgia hid Chechnya rebels, but Georgia has deemed those claims as false.
6. The International Criminal Court started investigating the war crimes of South Ossetia, Russia and Georgia in and around South Ossetia in order to bring justice to over 6,000 victims. Still, it is doubtful the victims will receive reparations.
7. There are almost 300,000 internally displaced persons in Georgia due to the conflicts with Abkhazia and South Ossetia over the last 20 years. Five percent of the population is internally displaced.
8. During Georgia’s conflict with Abkhazia in 1992-1993, both sides terrorized civilians based on which group they were from and this led to many displaced persons.
9. The EU voted in February to allow Georgians to travel visa-free into the EU for up to 90 days. The EU was concerned this could cause an upsurge in Georgian migrants overstaying illegally, therefore it reserved the right to reinstate visa requirements if needed.
These are just nine facts about refugees in Georgia. Refugees in Georgia are affected by the conflict in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Russia.
– Jennifer Taggart