‘People do not feel safe’
Amnesty International published a report on the situation in Georgia one year on after the devastating conflict. Natalia Nozadze, South Caucasus researcher for the organisation, says 30,000 Georgians are still displaced due to the war.
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FRANCE 24: Were there any signs that tensions were still high during your visit to the border region between Georgia and South Ossetia?
Natalia Nozadze: One of the most striking things I noticed was that few people had started rebuilding their homes though Georgian authorities had given them reconstruction money. People explained to us that it was pointless to rebuild houses because the conflict could flare at any moment. People do not feel safe
F24: In Amnesty's recently-released report, you say about 30,000 people, mostly ethnic Georgians, are still unable to go home one year after the war which had originally displaced 200,000 people.
N. Z.: Different situations have been recorded. Some of the displaced are waiting for reconstruction money or for their homes to be rebuilt. But there are about 18,500 displaced people, mostly Georgians, who are unlikely to return to their homes because they have fled lands that are now under South Ossetian control. The Georgian state has built new housing centres. But a lot of them are isolated, lack basic services and depend on humanitarian aid.
F24: Amnesty International says that the conditions for a "stable peace" have not yet been met. What is preventing peace?
N.Z.: One year after the war, courts have not yet judged the crimes committed during the fighting. Perpetrators must be prosecuted. The problem is that the Russian investigation mission refuses to admit that anybody except Georgia may be responsible for the conflict and Tbilisi is finding it difficult to collect evidence in areas under Russian control on the border with South Ossetia.
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