13:42, Friday, 25.05.2018
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Kakhetian Youth Forced to Join Army Reserves

Kakhetian Youth Forced to Join Army Reserves

40% of Youth of Military Age Infected with Hepatitis B in Gurjaani.

A while ago young people were enticed to fill the reservist camps in Kakheti with the promise of 5 kilos of rice and macaroni, 100 GEL and further employment. Today people are forced to join the army or face violence and police threats.

Despite notable improvements in the financial conditions of military personal, many people do not want to join the army. The reasons they give include the recent disregard for human rights and the increasing number of murders in the Georgian army.

The Parliament may also introduce proposed changes and additions to the law regarding “payment for the deferment of military service”, prepared by the Committee of Defense and Security. These changes envisage increasing the amount of payment required to defer military service ten fold. Youth of military age will be forced to join the army, as they would then have to pay 2,000 GEL, instead of the current 200 GEL, to postpone military service for 18 months – a sum beyond the means of most of the population.

“The youth of military age try to avoid military service. That is why, according to the President’s orders, Spring call up for military service, which started on 10th January 2006 and was due to end on the 15th March, was extended twice, the second time until the 15th July.

During Spring call up, 126 young people of military age must be called up in Gurjaani. We would not have had any problems, but 40% of the young people were turned down by the medical commission, for having Hepatitis B - that was completely unexpected. That is why we have to make the youth of military age appear before the commissariat with police help, which is no violation of the law”, declares Zurab Ananeishvili, the Head of the Military Department of the Gurjaani Administrative Board.

Calling up the youth as reservists using police threats and force, it is something categorically denied by Vano Elizbarashvili, a representative of the Gurjaani Administrative Board. According to him, the local government distributes neither macaroni nor money from the budget. “Only patriots join the reservist army. We go to the villages as well, accompanied by the heads of the village military offices and ask people to join the reservist army. We explain that they should love their country. Those who love their country, accept our proposal. ….  How we could we dare threaten people or use force?” stated Vano Elizbarashvili surprised.
One person who spoke to us did not deny that he had been forced to join the army reserves. “A few days ago, at midnight, representatives of Administrative Board and Commissariat came to my house and demanded that I join the reserves despite my wishes. I told them that I had under age children. Besides, I am the only bread winner in my family and could not join the reserves. Because of this, the representative of the Administrative Board became furious and called me a traitor to my country. They became violent, saying they would make me go if I did not obey them, but the noise made the neighbors come outside. In addition to this they threatened me, saying that if I did not appear at the Commissariat on the set day, I would have problems with the police, I would be arrested and so on,” says the person, who does not want to be named publicly.

The information about the forcing of citizens to join the army is confirmed by the Kakheti office of the NGO the Human’s Rights Information and Documentation Centre. “Several people, whose identities we know, applied to us orally. They pointed out that they were made to join the army reserves as a result of various threats, for example, the creation of problems with the police, ceasing aid to their families and so on – things that are completely inadmissible. A certain person, working at a government office, was threatened that he would be blamed with irresponsibility at work and would be sacked if his brothers did not join the army. According to the law currently in force, joining the army reserves is voluntary and not obligatory,” declares solicitor Lia Khuroshvili.

According to information obtained by The Human’s Rights Centre, the same situation is observed in other Kakhetian districts.

Gela Mtivlishvili, Kakheti.

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