Breakaway Abkhaz Government to Introduce New Passports

New legislation introduced by the de-facto government of Georgia’s breakaway Abkhazia region will introduce new internal passports by 1 March, according to the head of Abkhazia’s rebel government Shamil Adzynba.

According to Adzynba, the new passports are being issued to protect the local population from identity theft.

Adzynba previously told Abkhaz news agency Apsnypress that residents had been issued locally produced internal documents of a very low quality. He added that the new passports would be printed in Russia, according to international standards.

The plan reportedly also includes a provision to issue residence permits for ethnic Georgians residing in Abkhazia’s Gali district, which minimizes the rights for the Georgians to vote or have property on the ground.

Prior to Abkhazia’s August 2014 presidential elections, many ethnic Georgians in the region had their official status in Abkhazia arbitrarily cancelled by the local authorities. The action deprived them of the right to vote, own property, set up businesses, attend university or have access to healthcare.

Abkhaz officials later announced plans to issue alien residence permits to the region’s Georgian population, using the pretext that most hold Georgian passports, which qualifies them foreign citizens with no voting or property rights under a newly adopted law on the legal status of foreign citizens in the “Republic of Abkhazia”.

08 February 2016 13:55