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Women living in the villages alongside the division line and their safety – results of the survey

11.05.2019

 
Lado Bitchashvili, Shida Kartli

“The women suffered the most during the wars in the history of the world. Thus, the women’s perception of safety is very important,” Lia Chlachidze from Ergneti village said, who carried out survey about the life and safety of the women living in the villages alongside the occupation line. The survey report describes those challenges which the people face in the conflict-affected villages. The biggest problem is migration that is related with different issues. According to the survey, migration worsened the demographic situation in the zone that influenced the number of children in Ergneti public school. There are only 70 students in the school; among them, there are no children in the fourth grade and only two students in the third grade. 

“The women are the most vulnerable group to overcome the war results. They still continue living in the high-risk zone, where gunshots are still heard, people are kidnapped and arrested for the crossing the so-called border. The fruit-gardens, pastures and agricultural lands are abandoned as a result of borderization. All seven key components of the human safety, which are determined by the UN Development Program Concept, were breached during the 2008 war. For example, in my village, the number of vulnerable people has increased; people lost income and working places; risk of violence increased as well as health problems because of poor food, lack of primary healthcare; the couples got divorced, human rights were violated, social conditions worsened that restricted freedom of choice for people. The same situation is in all war-affected villages alongside the division line. 

Nobody surveyed how the August war affected the psychology, health and social conditions of the women and girls. Birth-rate decreased, demographic situation worsened. For example, in Ergneti village, about 40 persons passed away of the diseases caused by war trauma. Only 8-10 children were born in the village since 2008,” Lia Chlachidze said and listed several reasons of the worsened demographic situation: migration of the women and youth has increased; now only middle-aged and elderly people live in the villages; according to the statistics, in the past years, more and more 25-45 years old women have abortions that means they do not feel stability, do not have hope and cannot risk to have children; number of registered psychic and behavior disorders has increased in the villages. According to the Ministry of Healthcare, the facts of domestic violence, sexual harassment, suicide and femicide have increased. It is noteworthy that social allowances are the main income for majority of the women (pensions, benefits, social allowances) that negatively affect their activity and motivation to independently improve their financial conditions. In this light, it is important that the State considered alternative versions of social aid. 

The author of the survey stated it is important to elaborate long-term strategy to enable the people living alongside the division line safely and with the feeling of stability.

“Generally, safety is associated with military operations and consecutive risks for the majority of conflict-affected population and disregards the important component of safety like personal safety. The devastating impact of the war is significant and rich material for the analysis, surveys and I, who lives in Ergneti village several dozen meters away from the occupied Tskhinvali and is engaged in the conflict anatomy, have never seen any survey, which presents the opinion of the women about the war threats. It is important to know what worries them the most, what are the wide specter of the risks which is transformed into economic hardship, displacement, loss of children and family members, collapse of the houses and various forms of violence. These issues further widen the traditional content of the safety and necessity of creating relevant conditions for stable environment and peaceful life increases,” Lia Chlachidze said, who hopes that the Government will work on the problems identified in the survey with more responsibility and elaborate policy and action plan to resolve them. 

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