Georgian-Abkhaz conflict

We work with Georgian and Abkhaz civil societies to build confidence and deepen understanding about the conflict and opportunities for peace.

We have been active in the Georgian-Abkhaz conflict context since 1997. Our early work supported a wide range of public outreach initiatives with groups affected by the conflict. Now we work with youth-led local partners to foster civic activism across the region; the focus is on giving young people the skills and opportunity to lead change in their own communities and to connect across the conflict divide. In collaboration with local people and organisations, we also bring new ideas to the region on a broad range of themes, including gender sensitivity, cross-conflict trade and the impact of myths and stereotypes on conflict.

Our vital work ensures that there are opportunities and channels for Georgians and Abkhaz to interact with each other across the conflict divide. Such relations have become increasingly rare as a whole generation has grown up since the war with no experience of coexisting peacefully.

Until 2015 we also worked on the Georgian-South Ossetian conflict context.

Conflict context

During the collapse of the Soviet Union, tensions between ethnic Georgians and Abkhaz turned into armed conflict. When Georgia declared independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, it did so with most Georgians believing that Abkhazia was an inalienable part of their country. The Abkhaz feared that this threatened their national identity and sought autonomy from Georgia.

The 1992-94 war saw nearly 12,000 people killed and displaced many hundreds of thousands more. Abkhazia unilaterally declared independence in 1999 and was recognised by Russia following the 2008 war over South Ossetia.

Official peace negotiations are conducted within the framework of the Geneva International Discussions co-chaired by the United Nations, European Union and Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE). Progress in these talks has stalled. Meanwhile, people continue to suffer as a result of the non-resolution of the conflict.