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United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG)
 

 

UNOMIG was established in August 1993 to verify compliance with the ceasefire agreement between the Government of Georgia and the Abkhaz authorities in Georgia. UNOMIG's mandate was expanded following the signing by the parties of the 1994 Agreement on a Ceasefire and Separation of Forces.

 

Background
Hostilities of 1992

 The conflict in Abkhazia, strategically located on the Black Sea in the northwestern region of the Republic of Georgia, began with social unrest and the attempts by the local authorities to separate from the Republic. It escalated into a series of armed confrontations in the summer of 1992 when the Government of Georgia deployed 2,000 Georgian troops in Abkhazia. Fierce fighting resulted in some 200 dead and hundreds wounded. The Abkhaz leadership abandoned the Abkhaz capital of Sukhumi and retreated to the town of Gudauta.

A ceasefire agreement was reached on 3 September 1992 in Moscow by the Republic of Georgia, the leadership of Abkhazia and the Russian Federation. The agreement stipulated that "the territorial integrity of the Republic of Georgia shall be ensured". It also set out, as the basis of the peace settlement, a ceasefire to take effect as of 5 September 1992 and other issues including, inter alia, the disarming of illegal armed formations, the reduction of the armed forces and the exchange of prisoners.

The agreement, however, was never fully implemented. The situation remained very tense with both sides accusing one another of ceasefire violations. On 1 October 1992, the ceasefire collapsed and the fighting resumed. The Abkhaz forces, supported by fighters from the North Caucasus region, quickly captured the major towns, and threatened to bring nearly 80 per cent of Abkhazia, including the capital city of Sukhumi, under their control. The raging fighting forced some 30,000 civilians to flee across the border to the Russian Federation. The parties to the conflict accused one another of human rights violations committed against the civilian population. By November 1992, the outbreak of inter-ethnic fighting in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation added another dimension to the already tense situation in the area.

Establishment of UNOMIG

The United Nations sought to revive the peace process by diplomatic means, consulting with the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) [now redesignated the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE)] so as to ensure effective coordination of activities. In November 1992, a United Nations office opened in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi to provide an integrated United Nations approach in the region and to assist in the peacemaking efforts of the Secretary-General.

 

 

Renewed Fighting

The ceasefire, however, broke down again on 16 September 1993. Abkhaz forces, with armed support from outside Abkhazia, launched attacks on Sukhumi and Ochamchira. Notwithstanding the Security Council's call for the immediate cessation of hostilities and its condemnation of the violation of the ceasefire by the Abkhaz side, fighting continued. In the next few days, the military situation developed rapidly. On 27 September, the Abkhaz side occupied Sukhumi and a few days later all of Abkhazia. As a result of the fighting, hundreds of thousands of civilians, mostly Georgians, were displaced.

Following the breakdown of the ceasefire, further deployment of UNOMIG was suspended. The strength of the Mission was limited to four military observers and four civilians in Sukhumi; one observer in Tbilisi; and seven observers in Sochi, a city within the territory of the Russian Federation, where they were when hostilities resumed.

The conflict led to the almost complete devastation of vast areas and the massive displacement of population. There were reports of numerous and serious human rights violations in Abkhazia. A United Nations fact-finding mission, dispatched by the Secretary-General in October 1993, reported that both Georgian government forces and Abkhazian forces, as well as irregulars and civilians cooperating with them, were responsible for such violations.

 

 

 
Duration
  • 23 July 95 todate
Participation
  •  7x Military Observer
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