Human Rights Center responds to Death of Galilean Nurse moved from Gali District to Anaklia Quarantine Facility

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On March 16, 2021, a Galilean nurse who crossed Enguri Bridge with heart problems died in the quarantine facility of Anaklia. According to media reports, the woman had chronic heart disease. She became sick in the quarantine facility and an ambulance was called to the site. Despite the medical care provided, the woman could not be saved. As it turns out, she came to the territory controlled by the central government of Georgia for treatment. According to the available information, Nargiza Abutidze had signs of a heart attack, but instead of being hospitalized, she was placed in quarantine. Moreover, she was transported from Gali by a reanimobile. 

It should be noted that for almost a year now, residents of Gali district have not been able to move freely in the area controlled by the central government. According to the statement of the Security Service of Georgia made on February 11, 2021, the movement in the direction of occupied Abkhazia from the first half of the day of February 12, 2021, will be open to the elderly, retired persons, persons with special needs and other groups of people. However, within hours of this announcement, the State Minister for Reconciliation and Civic Equality, Tea Akhvlediani, clarified that the quarantine period was 12 days before February 1, 2021, and from February 11, it would be 5 days for those leaving the occupied territories and they would leave the facility after expiration of the quarantine term against negative PCR test. 

With the lifting of the restriction on freedom of movement announced by the Georgian Government, in fact, nothing has changed for the residents of Gali district. Local residents protest that the existence of quarantine poses additional delays for them and makes the moving to Georgia territories meaningless. Therefore, they demand the immediate lifting of the mandatory quarantine.

Due to the COVID-19 virus pandemic, a particularly difficult situation has developed in the occupied territories of Georgia. According to HRC, the current situation in the field of human rights protection in the occupied territories is disturbing, which is greatly influenced by the long-term closure of so-called of checkpoints exacerbating the humanitarian crisis in the occupied territories and problems with access to medical services. Further, a number of people died due to inability to receive proper medical care. 

We call on to the Government of Georgia: 

1.    To transfer people from the occupied territories to the controlled territory of Georgia for treatment, on the basis of pre-testing, to transfer them to the appropriate medical facilities, and to strengthen medical supervision for the persons transferred to quarantine facilities through qualified staff; 
2.    Strengthen medical supervision in quarantine facilities and, in case of relevant complaints, take prompt and adequate measures;
3.    In the process of universal vaccination, special attention should be paid to the people living in the occupied territories and this process should be guided by strict adherence to the principle of equality.

Human Rights Center