SITUATION - Abkhazia in Georgia is heavily mined and mines are preventing repatriation of ethnic Georgian refugees. The Inguri River is the front line in this conflict and the riverbanks on the Abkhaz side are mined. The Gali area of Abkhazia, which used to be overwhelmingly Georgian in ethnic make-up, is especially affected by mines. The Government of Georgia has expressed an interest in UN demining assistance, but none can be provided without similar approval from the Abkhaz side.
In Aug. 94 a UN Department of Humanitarian Affairs assessment mission to Georgia estimated there to be 75-150,000 mines between the Gumista and Inguri Rivers. Major and secondary roads are mined, and schoolchildren have been blown up taking short-cuts. The groups planting the mines may be operating as vigilantes outside the control of the Abkhaz authorities. From mid-Jan.-mid-Mar. 95 six people were killed and 15 wounded in mine incidents. Of the deaths, four were CIS peacekeepers. At present only CIS troops are clearing mines when they become a safety nuisance.
The biggest concentration of mines are
on the Georgian and Abkhazian sides of the Inguri River, along the coastal
line of Gali Province. Ochamchira and Tkvartcheli regions are heavily mined
with an estimated 27,000 land mines. There are maps
documenting the minefields, but many of the mines are unmarked.
Number of Mines
75-150,000. Figure provided by the UN.
Georgia has no national capacity for demining. The Government of Georgia has indicated that a UN demining presence would be welcome but the Abkhazians disagree.
The Republic of Georgia declared independence
from the USSR in 1991 and almost immediately plunged into civil war when
the autonomous respublics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia seceded. By the
time Eduard Shevardnadze (ex-Soviet Foreign Minister) was elected to the
presidency on 11 Oct. 92, the federal army was falling back, and in Sep.
94 the capital of
Abkhazia, Sukhumi, fell to the rebels.
The front line in the conflict extends
along the Inguri River. In May 94 a ceasefire came into effect and Russian
Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) troops moved in to hold the uneasy peace. On 26 Nov. 94 the Supreme Soviet
of Abkhazia unilaterally declared a sovereign republic, adopted a new constitution, and declared itself bound by international law. No international diplomatic recognition has been extended to Abkhazia. On 12 May 95 the UN Security Council extended the UNOMIG mandate until Jan. 96.
Inhumane Weapons Convention
Moratorium on the export of anti-personnel mines
no Mines found in Georgia and their origins
TS 50 Italy
MON-50 Russian Federation
MON-90 Russian Federation
OZM-72 Russian Federation
PMN Russian Federation
PMN-2 Russian Federation
TM-57 Russian Federation
TM-62 Russian Federation