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Georgia: UNOMIG police mark two years



The UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) was established by the Security Council in August 1993 to verify the ceasefire agreement between the Government of Georgia and the Abkhaz de-facto authorities in Georgia. Its mandate was expanded following the signing by the parties of the 1994 Agreement on a Ceasefire and Separation of Forces. Being a relatively small mission in a currently generally calm area, UNOMIG has a tendency to be overshadowed by larger, multidimensional missions deployed in volatile situations.


It is often overlooked, however, that UNOMIG has been given one of the most extensive mandates, ranging from pursuing a comprehensive political settlement of the conflict to monitoring the ceasefire and other military arrangements agreed upon by the two parties. Additional responsibilities in the field of human rights and humanitarian activities, as well as recently added certain civilian police functions further enhance the level of complexity of the missionís work.


Since its arrival in Georgia two years ago, a small team of UNOMIG police officers have started to make its presence felt. The officers have gained the trust of the local population by working together with local law enforcement agencies, and have started helping build the capacity of the local police force.


The team of 12 police officers from seven nations operates on the Georgian Government-controlled side of the ceasefire line. Abkhaz authorities, however, continued to refuse a UN police presence on their side of the line.


The mandate of the UN police team includes creating conditions that would encourage the return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes left during the conflict of 1992-1993. UN police officers carry out patrols, train local police on law enforcement and human rights issues, provide equipment and forensic assistance.


The teamís biggest achievements to date are in crime prevention and community policing. UN police have set up several crime-prevention committees in cooperation with local and regional police commanders. With the encouragement of an UNOMIG female police officer, the local police force has set up the Police Womenís Association, with the goal of encouraging more women to join the force.


The refusal by Abkhazia to allow the deployment of UN police officers in the Gali region continues to hamper cooperation across the ceasefire line. It has also hindered progress in criminal investigations and has limited the effectiveness of anti-crime efforts. During his brief visit to Georgia in November, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan emphasized the importance of ensuring the respect for rule of law and human rights in the conflict zone.   


Prepared by the Peace and Security Section, United Nations Department of Public Information.

© United Nations 2006