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“Mothers of Abkhazia for peace and social justice” Movement Supports Resumption of Missing Persons Commission's Work

SUKHUM -- The chairman of the “Mothers of Abkhazia for peace and social justice” movement Guli Kichba believes the government of the republic should change its attitude to the parents of the fighters reported missing in the 1992-1993 Patriotic War of the Abkhaz Nation. In her interview to "Apsnypress" given on the International Day of the Disappeared on August 30, Kichba said she shared grief and deep sorrow of mothers of the whole world who also suffer from the pain of ignorance of their children's destiny.

Kichba ascertained regretfully that in Abkhazia parents of the missing persons are reckoned among families of the dead. “It is completely incorrect. After all 17 years have passed, and in the country gradually getting on its feet, one could institute personal allowances for this category of people”, she said.

The mother of the missing Hero of Abkhazia Arzamet Tarba Guli Kichba considers the fact that the state commission on missing persons to the President of the Republic of Abkhazia was liquidated to be also incorrect. “Nothing is done in this direction. But after all our organization ( Mothers of Abkhazia for peace and social justice) participated three times in the meetings of the Abkhaz and Georgian parties on this issue. The Abkhaz commission was headed by Otar Kakalia then, and the Georgian one by Vladimir Dobordzhgenidze whose son had fought and been killed in Abkhazia. The commission worked, and we had a hope”, she said.

Guli Kichba said two months before State Security Service representatives had told her that near the village of Achadara in the Sukhum district local residents and “Hallo Trust” representatives who cleared the territory of mines there, had found two buried bodies. “They also told us it was not the first case what alarmed us a lot. There is a question: where have the found corpses disappeared?”, she said.

“I addressed to the president at once, but at that moment he was unavailable, and I informed vice-president Alexander Ankvab about it”. He, according to her, made the decision promptly, and literally ordered to all power bodies to take appropriate measures. Kichba believes they might be missing Abkhaz fighters as it is well-known that in the beginning the Georgian party took away the corpses, but then in order to avoid scandals began to dump them in the sea.

Kichba considers that till parents of the missing persons (many of them are already no more) are alive, DNA analyses should be made. “We are on friendly terms with Russia, we are in partnership with them, and the work of an EMERCOM search party is well organized. It hope that the authorities will concern themselves with this issue”, she said.

Guli Kichba also said that in 2001experts in identification arrived in Abkhazia as a part of the ICRC Mission. “They were even ready to sponsor the identification in the Glory Park, but our authorities did not agree to it, saying that “it is a severe trauma for parents”, she said.

According to Kichba, “parents will never be ready for it, their hearts will always bleed, but it is better than ignorance of the destiny of the missing people dear to them”.

She also considers absence of a committee on missing persons in the Parliament of Abkhazia to be wrong.

According to unspecified data, 200 persons were missing during the 1992-1993 Patriotic War of the Abkhaz Nation.

Commission on Missing Persons to Resume Work in Abkhazia

August 30 is the International Day of the Disappeared. A flower-laying ceremony took place today in Sukhum, in the Glory Park where victims of the 1992-1993 Patriotic War of the Abkhaz Nation are buried. Representatives of the “Mothers of Abkhazia for peace and social justice” movement, the Government of the republic, as well as the Mission of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Abkhazia attended the ceremony.

The government of Abkhazia resumes work of the Commission on missing persons, the first vice-PM of the government Leonid Lakerbaya who is in charge of the social block in the government told journalists today.

For the last five years this commission's work has been wrapped up. “There is a proposal to resume work of this commission under the Emergency Control Department of the Republic of Abkhazia”, Lakerbaya specified.

Lakerbaya expressed a desire that heedful and not indifferent people worked in the commission on missing persons. “It is a very hard job. A lot of parents do not want to believe that their children have been killed. They do not want any welfare and allowances, they wait and hope that their children have not been killed and will return”, Leonid Lakerbaya said regretfully.

The vice PM emphasized that the government makes a close study of all appeals received from the Mothers Movement. In his opinion, the missing persons who have been given the same status as the dead during the war, should be a separate category in the database. In the lists of the missing persons service men and civilians should be marked out.

Lakerbaya thanked the ICRC Mission in Abkhazia for active assistance in resumption of the missing persons program.

“I hope that with the help from the ICRC we will carry out the DNA analysis of the buried in the places we know”, Lakerbaya said. The vice PM drew attention to the fact that several unknown soldiers killed during the 1992-1993 Georgian-Abkhaz war were buried in the Glory Park. “It is very important for us to identify at least one of them”, Lakerbaya added.

He said that ten years ago the DNA analysis issue was a painful one, and the families hoped to find the missing persons some other way. Today the missing soldiers' mothers have agreed to the DSA analysis.

“I hope that from the Georgian party responsible people will deal with the missing persons problem. If this problem is not politicized, we can succeed in solving it”, Lakerbaya said.

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