Patrolling is vital to the Mission for the successful implementation of its Mandate. The EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) patrols daily throughout the territory controlled by Georgia, with a focus on areas adjacent to both Administrative Boundary Lines (ABLs) with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. One of the important tasks of the Mission is to facilitate the resumption of a safe and normal life for the local communities living on both sides of the ABLs with Abkhazia and South Ossetia
In mid-2016, a group of local farmers approached an EUMM patrol that was carrying out its daily monitoring tasks close to the ABL with South Ossetia. The farmers explained that they were very fearful of cultivating their farmland in a particular area quite close to the ABL with South Ossetia, due to war debris left there since the war ended in 2008.
The Mission discussed the situation with the ‘temi’ (local administration) and then approached ‘The HALO Trust’ organisation, which has a history of clearing war debris in Georgia. The HALO Trust organisation conducted a mine survey of the site in 2017, and soon afterwards cleared the farmland of war debris. Farmers felt it was safe enough once again to recommence cultivating their land for the first time since 2008. Approximately 20 farmers own land in this area and they, and the rest of the local population, were very appreciative of the work done by HALO Trust, with the support of the EUMM.
On 19 April, IMEDI TV filmed a reportage of a handful of the farmers affected, and their return to the farmland cleared as a result of the cooperation between the EUMM and The HALO Trust. The reportage included a number of interviews – Mr. Erik Høeg, Head of Mission, Mr. Irakli Chitanava, Programme Manager, The HALO Trust in Georgia and local farmers.
IMEDI TV aired the reportage on its important analytical programme ‘Imedis Kriva’ on Sunday evening 22 April.
“The EU Monitoring Mission does not carry out demining, as we are a Monitoring mission. However, we can provide information to organisations like ‘The HALO Trust’, who can then clear the area of war debris and make the area safe for farmers to cultivate their land. This is what happened in the vicinity of Kvemo Nikozi, close to the Administrative Boundary Line with South Ossetia. Here farmers now cultivate their land for the first time since the war ended in 2008” – states Mr. Erik Høeg, Head of Mission, EUMM.
See the reportage from Imedi TV here
Imedi TV camera crew and correspondent Mariam Oshkhneli set up their equipment for the interview with Head of Mission
"The EU Monitoring Mission does not carry out demining, as we are a Monitoring mission. However, we can provide information to organisations like The HALO Trust, who can then clear the area of war debris and make the area safe for farmers to cultivate their land", - Head of Mission Erik Høeg told the Imedi TV journalist
The Halo Trust Program Manager Irakli Chitanava (left) and Head of EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) Erik Høeg prepare to be interviewed
Head of Mission Erik Høeg and Field Office Gori (FOG) Interpreter Tamar Maisuradze talk to local farmers about future plans to cultivate their land plot, now that it has been cleared from war debris
A zealous cameraman implements his task with great enthusiasm and professionalism